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Implementing Change in Your Local Church from the Top Down Tom Pennington Executive Pastor Introduction I. The Biblical Arguments for Strategic Planning A. Scripture describes God Himself as making and carrying out His plans. 1. God’s Plans Identified (2 Kings 19:25; Psa. 33:11; Prov. 19:21; Is. 14:24, 27; 25:1; Jer. 18:11; 29:11; 49:20; 50:45; Acts 2:23; Eph. 1:11) 2. God’s Plans Illustrated (Gen. 50:20; Dan. 2:36-45; Rom. 8:28; all biblical prophecy) B. In the context of weighing the demands of discipleship, Christ praises human planning; He implies that a wise person will in every situation try to make plans (Luke 14:28-32). C. The wisdom of Israel’s sages calls for human planning, while at the same time acknowledging God’s sovereignty over our plans (Prov. 20:5; 6:18; 15:22; 15:26; 16:1; 16:3; 16:9; 19:21; 20:18; 21:5; 24:8). D. In interpreting the New Testament data regarding church leaders, many have identified planning as a crucial function of biblical leadership. For example: While He may choose to break out beyond our plans and programs, the Spirit thereby does not call us to abandon or to become careless about planning and leadership. When we not only plan, but also submit our plans to the Spirit for His blue-penciling, we do well. We must remember that all that the Scriptures say about the necessity for good leadership (and they say much about it) was inspired by the Holy Spirit Himself. It is of utmost necessity, therefore, to recognize at the outset that good leadership, planning and management in the Church of Christ are not merely tolerated or permitted (as one might suppose from listening to many ministers) but required and encouraged by the Holy Spirit. To put it tersely: biblical administration is spiritual…Planning, for instance, is the real work of the overseer. Indeed, it is so bound up with preaching, with evangelism and with pastoral care that is can never be separated from them….Shepherdly leadership…involves planning (i.e., the setting of goals and of objectives for the progress of the flock as it seeks to honor God in all of its activities and endeavors; determining where the green grass grows and the still waters lie, and how to discover and guide the sheep into the paths of righteousness that lead there). Jay Adams, Shepherding God’s Flock The leader must not only see clearly the goal that is to be reached, but also plan imaginative strategy and tactics by which it can be attained. This is an area in which there is a perennial short supply. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership
A congregation needs leadership, management, governance, guidance, counsel, and vision. Hence all elders must be, to some measure, leaders and managers. The eldership must clarify direction and beliefs for the flock. It must set goals, make decisions, give direction, correct failures, affect change, and motivate people. It must evaluate, plan, and govern. Elders, then, must be problem solvers, managers of people, planners, and thinkers….Since shepherd elders must lead and manage a congregation of people, the New Testament requires that all elder candidates evidence management ability by the proper management of their own households (1 Timothy 3:4-5). Alexander Strauch, Biblical Eldership A church must have functional goals and objectives, or it will have no direction. If you don't know where you're going, you won't know when you've arrived…. We must first recognize the basic biblical goals of the church: winning people to Christ, and helping them mature. Underneath those over-arching goals are more specific ones, like unifying families, preventing divorce, and educating children in the things of the Lord….In addition to them, we must have functional objectives. They are the stepping stones we use to accomplish biblical goals. It isn't enough just to say that we must learn the Word of God. We must go a step further and provide some steps to attain that goal. Functional goals and objectives are essential. A church can't be nebulous in its direction. It must give people goals and also objectives to reach them. John MacArthur, Shepherdology II. The Key Areas for Strategic Planning A. Personal Strategic Planning 1. Weekly Schedule and Priority Planning 2. Quarterly Day Away B. Family Strategic Planning C. Departmental/Ministry Strategic Planning D. Organizational Strategic Planning III. The Goals of Annual Organizational Strategic Planning A. Identify and Further Improve the Church’s Strengths B. Identify and Correct Organizational Weaknesses (including areas such as staffing, organizational structure, specific departments, worship services, leadership, facilities, and member services) C. Develop or Improve Specific Equipping Ministries (such as evangelism, leadership training, parenting, and counseling)
D. Create a Strategy to Seize Key Opportunities Anyone who’s committed to the Lord’s work and is motivated to reach others is going to see many needs that haven’t been met yet. Therefore he will always be planning how to meet them. Such a person has a visionary perspective. He's never satisfied merely with what is being done. He also focuses on what isn’t being done and that is why he plans ahead, looking for new worlds to conquer. He’s facing the reality of unmet opportunity, waiting for new doors to open up. John MacArthur E. Develop Strategies to Avoid or to Minimize Looming Threats F. Solidify Your Leadership Team G. Create a Short- and Long-term Strategy for the Church
The Tools of Annual Organizational Strategic Planning A. A Predetermined Agenda [see attached sample] B. The SWOT Process (the acronym stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) 1. An Overview: a strategic planning method that leads inexorably to a consensus of the key issues that ought to be addressed, that forces the formulation of specific objectives, and that creates realistic action steps to accomplish those objectives. 2. The Process a. Create detailed lists of your church’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats: 1) Strengths – those things that currently, effectively contribute to the health of your church 2) Weaknesses – those things that are apparent deficiencies 3) Opportunities – those things that could be done that would benefit the church 4) Threats – those things both in and outside your control that may damage the health of the church (such as people, movements, demographic shifts, low offerings, neighborhood deterioration, etc.) b. Give each participant 50 points with which to indicate those items on the detailed lists of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that he would most like to see addressed; he can spend no less than 5 points on an item and no more than 20 on one item. c. Based on the point totals, prioritize those issues that you will address together. d. Starting with the item that received the most votes, write an objective or goal to address the issue and specific action steps to accomplish that goal.
Example: Weakness: Shepherds’ Conference Objectives: 1. Redesign conference to be more effective 2. Attract 1,000+ participants annually 3. Replace domestic away-conferences Actions: 1. Cancel plans for next year’s conference 2. Evaluate other conferences 3. Set planning meeting to redesign the conference 4. Create plan to increase attendance 5. Identify key leader 6. Choose guest speaker(s) 7. Select date e. Determine who will be responsible to oversee that issue. 3. The Logistics a. Identify one moderator and writer. b. It is helpful to create the lists on poster paper and to use masking tape to affix each sheet of paper to the wall of the meeting room. This allows a quick perusal of what has already been listed and a simple voting process. c. Each participant votes by writing numbers in the margin of each sheet, next to each item that concerns him. d. It is best to create an objective and specific action steps for each priority before addressing the next issue. 4. The Results a. A comprehensive list of every important issue in your church that could possibly be addressed. b. A mathematical consensus of priorities. c. A written goal or objective to adequately address each priority. d. A detailed list of action steps to ensure each objective is met. e. A specific person responsible for each goal or objective. C. A Combination Approach V. The Process of Annual Organizational Strategic Planning A. Choosing the Venue The considerations below suggest that the best environment for strategic planning is a retreat, either a day away, or preferably at least one overnight. Carefully weigh the following: 1. You need to meet away from the normal distractions of the church campus.
2. To adequately accomplish the purposes listed above will require at least an entire day away, and preferably a couple of days. 3. Choose a comfortable place that breeds relaxed conversation, fellowship, and creativity. 4. It should be within a comfortable driving distance of the church. For example, don’t plan to travel more than 2 to 3 hours one way for a three-day retreat. 5. Choose a location that has easy access to some recreational activity you can enjoy together. 6. Consider including the wives. They can enjoy each other’s company and the nearby attractions during meeting times, but can join the men for meals and free time. 7. Negotiate the rate with the facility. B. Organizing for the Retreat 1. Before the Retreat a. Review the previous year’s minutes and finish any incomplete action items. b. Determine the date. c. Identify and invite the participants. d. Set up the schedule [see attached sample]. e. Decide what strategic planning method to use. 2. During the Retreat a. Begin with—and intersperse throughout—time for fellowship and team building (meals, golf, etc.). b. Keep a relaxed but ordered schedule. c. Stay on course with an agenda or with SWOT. d. Don’t leave without: 1) solid goals and objectives 2) specific action plans 3) specific assignments 4) a system in place to ensure follow through. e. Include a special gift (portfolio, stationery, flowers to wives). 3. After the Retreat a. Prepare and present a review presentation for the elder board and staff. b. Present the finalized plan to the congregation. c. Monitor progress with each assignee. d. Review objectives and action items prior to planning next retreat.
VI. The Four Greatest Mistakes of Strategic Planning A. Failure to Schedule an Annual Date and Venue B. Failure to Use an Adequate Planning Method C. Failure to Create Specific Action Plans D. Failure to Institute a System to Ensure Your Decisions Are Implemented
Schedule of Events Pastoral Staff Retreat Grace Community Church October 23 - 25, 2001 Tuesday, October 23 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Arrival/Check–In Dinner Out Together
Wednesday, October 24 6:30 – 8:30 a.m. 8:30 – 12:00 a.m. 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. 1:30 – 5:00 p.m. 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Breakfast on your own Meeting #1 (Hunt Club Room) (Ladies in Coach Room) Lunch Out Together Meeting #2 (Hunt Club Room) Free Time Dinner Out Together
Thursday, October 25 6:30 – 8:00 a.m. 8:00 – 11:00 a.m. 11:00 – 11:30 noon 11:30 – 12:30 p.m. 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Breakfast on your own Meeting #3 (Hunt Club Room) (Ladies in Coach Room) Check out of rooms Catered Lunch (Coach Room) Golf at Sandpiper (optional)
Schedule of Events Pastoral Staff Retreat Grace Community Church October 24 - 26, 2000 Tuesday, October 24th 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 25th 6:30 - 8:00 a.m. 8:00 - 8:20 a.m. 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. 1:30 - 5:30 p.m. 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. Thursday, October 26th 8:00 - 8:30 a.m. 8:30 - 11:00 a.m. 11:00 - 12:00 noon 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. 12:30 - 12:50 p.m. 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. Continental Breakfast – John's Patio Meeting #4 – John's Parlor Check out of rooms Pick up box lunch – Pro Shop Tee Times Golf and head for home Breakfast on your own Tee Times Lunch – Casa Ojai room Meeting #2 – Casa Ojai room Dinner out – Bocali's Meeting #3 – Casa Ojai room Arrivals/Check-In Dinner – Oak Café Meeting #1 – Casa Ojai room
Agenda Pastoral Staff Retreat Grace Community Church October 23 - 25, 2001 • • • Prayer Brainstorm Additional Issues Prioritize Order of Discussion Identifying TMS students for future ministry at GCC Training and utilization of lay leadership Theme conferences at GCC Singles ministry Sunday evening topics/passages Use of virtual classroom Support staff needs GCC website Book concepts/writing time Shepherding difficult situations GCS options in Santa Clarita Hospitality – Ushers Biblical anthropology (one nature vs. two-nature controversy; dichotomy vs. trichotomy) The Ordo salutis: viable alternatives The role of counseling in pastoral ministry Counseling strategy for sexual sin The three greatest theological weaknesses at GCC & how to address them ________________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________ ________________________________________ • Create Objectives & Action Plans
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