Organizational plans that don’t end up in a file somewhere, but actually result in specific, strategic, and positive action.
Most congregational plans remain simply that: plans. What is desired, though, is action.
We firmly believe that the process used for planning must ensure that there is action resulting from the plan.
Some guiding principles we’ve developed over the past 10 years:
• Involve as many people as possible. If the implementers of the plan are involved in its design, they are almost always willing to participate in action. (The opposite of this is the leadership planning retreat, when excited leaders return to “sell” the plan. People may agree with the plan, or say they do, but are not often “sold” enough to work on it.)
• Spending more time on organizing principles and action plans; spending less time on vision, values, and mission statements;. (Many of us have experienced spending a year or two on defining a vision/mission/values statement, but nothing has really happened.)
• The importance of periodic check-ins with the consultant. Many plans end up in a file drawer because of a lack of accountability. There are so many other things to do! A quarterly check-in ensures that the plan results in action.
• Scaling the planning efforts to church size and circumstances. A large church needs a different process than a small one, yet we are often faced with a “one size fits all” approach to congregational planning. Smaller churches usually need shorter-term plans, while large churches need more elaborate long-term plans.