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What are the elements of a strategic plan?

What is the future I want to create for my church? The following elements help you define the future for your church:. Vision provides a clear mental picture, by faith, of what your church will look like in five to ten years from now. Forming a strategic vision should provide long-term direction, delineate the organizational activities to be pursued, the capabilities it plans to develop, and infuse the church with a sense of purposeful action. It serves as a unifying focal point for everyone in the organization like a North Star.

It delineates the future focus and where the church is going. It is a picture of seeking the needs of other people and meeting those needs. It is vitally connected to the heart of God and His perspective. A vision that is inspired by God is God-sized and will require the power of God to fulfill. A Godly vision makes your heart surge, carries you to heights you never dreamed possible, and causes exponential growth. You are empowered and motivated by it. It seizes hold of you and orders your thoughts and actions. Knowing how you will reach your vision is the meat of your strategic plan, but it is also the most time consuming.

The reason it takes so much time to develop is because there are a number of routes from your current position to your vision. Picking the right one determines how quickly or slowly you get to your final destination. The parts of your plan that lay out your roadmap are as follows:. Strategic objectives are long-term, continuous strategic areas that get you moving from your mission to achieving your vision.

Objectives explain how you will get there. In other words, objectives are long-term 3—5 years general areas that state how your organization will get from its mission where you are now to its vision where you are going. Objectives are also called strategic priorities, initiatives, and cornerstones. It is helpful to think of objectives as broad general area. Objectives state the broad direction; goals then operationalize that direction. They are the continuous strategic activities necessary to achieve your vision. They define what your organization is intending to accomplish both programmatically and organizationally.

Objectives work towards converting your mission into actions that will accomplish your vision and help sustain your unique advantage. A strategy is like an umbrella. It is a general statement s that guides and covers a set of activities. You can develop one strategy for your church or guiding statement for each year.

Consider listing the top one to two strategies or long-term activities your church needs to pursue in order to achieve its vision by asking how will we achieve our vision and how can we best match our strengths in a way that provides value and is perceived by our constituents? Goals convert your strategic objectives into specific performance targets. Effective SMART goals clearly state what you want to accomplish, when you want to accomplish it, how you are going to do it, and who is going to be responsible. Each goal should be specific and measurable.

With short-term goals, the organization converts the mission, vision, and long-term objectives into performance targets. Realistic goals ought to serve as a tool for stretching an organization to reach its full potential. It is important for the church to view goals as motivational targets, and exciting, measurable milestones for the future.


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Think about achieving them in a 12— to month time frame. Write goals to build your unique advantage. Additionally, use your SWOT analysis to write goals. Match your strengths with opportunities, shore up your weaknesses and guard against threats. Goals can be difficult to set because they should be faith-stretching without being presumptuous. Goals ought to serve as a tool for stretching a church to reach its full potential. This means setting them high enough to be challenging to energize the organization and its strategy.

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Let God give you things He wants you to do. Hold your plans before the Lord. Action items are plans that set specific actions that lead to implementing your goals. It involves listing out the concrete steps that you need to accomplish in order to achieve your goals. An action plan explains who is going to do what, by when, and in what order for the church to reach its goals. The design and implementation of the action planning depend on the nature and needs of the organization. Getting buy-in from your stakeholders is to ensure implementation of action items, it is important to assign responsibilities and deadlines.

How to create your strategic plan.

A great method is to assign each goal to a board member, staff, or volunteer. Another method is to identify all the actions that need to occur in the next 90 days. You can continue this same process at every ninety-day increment until the goal is achieved.

What is strategic planning?

To help monitor your strategic plan, one of the best tools around is the Balanced Scorecard developed by Kaplan and Norton from Harvard. With it, you can actively track progress towards your goals. For each goal put a measurement and target on a scorecard in Excel. With the scorecard, you can actively track your progress on a monthly basis.

Implementation is the most difficult part of the planning process: it is actually achieving the goals set out in the plan while remaining alert and flexible to new opportunities as they unfold. The overall aim is integrating the strategic planning with daily, weekly, and monthly routines.

It is good to remember that a plan that is well-implemented brings Godly success to the church. An administrator devoted to the successful implementation of the plan is key. The plan needs to be supported with people, money, time, systems, and, above all, communication. Communicate the plan to everyone in your organization. Hold a monthly or quarterly strategy meeting to report on the progress toward achieving the goals.


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  • Take corrective actions as needed. Above all, remember that implementing the plan requires continued daily prayer for direction accompanied by obedient action in response to what God reveals. A strategic plan is a living, dynamic document. It drives your church and must be integrated into every fiber of your organization, so all staff is helping to move the church in the same direction. All the best missions and strategies in the world are a waste of time if they are not implemented.

    To be truly successful, the plan cannot gather dust on the bookshelf. Strategic planning is about keeping the plan active so that it does not gather that proverbial dust. Know what your end result looks like and where your milestones should be. Plan your near-term actions and evaluate your progress each quarter.

    Are you where you thought you would be if you had been on target?

    Wait! Don’t start 12222 without a complete plan!

    Or, if you are off target, how far are you off? The course correction to put you back on track becomes your next action plan. When your church has a clear plan and acts according to the plan, you are going to go from where you are to where you want to go, therefore, ensuring your success! Click here to download the full PDF version. Cancel anytime. Back to resources. Why do a strategic plan? What is strategic planning? A good strategic plan achieves the following: Reflects the values of the organization.

    Clearly defines what is most important for achieving success.

    New Strategic Planning Workbook for Church Leaders!

    Assists everyone in daily decision making. Gets everyone on the same page focused and pulling in the same direction. Creates a culture of strategic thinking. What are the elements of a strategic plan? The typical questions people have relating to the elements are the following: What is the difference between mission and vision?

    Which comes first— objectives or goals? How do they work together?

    go Why do we exist? Values —To clarify what you stand for and believe in. SWOT —To assess the particular strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that are strategically important to your church. SWOT is a filtering tool to assess where you are now. Advantage —To define what you do best. What do you do best? Vision —To explain where you are headed.

    Where do we want to be in five years? Organization-wide strategy —How will you get to your vision?