Hope is not a strategy. In fact, it’s a terrible approach to grow, develop, and multiply what God has entrusted to you as a leader. If you want 2014 to be better than 2013, you need a plan. Without one, you’ll likely experience the same setbacks and surprises that caused so much frustration over the past year.
As you sit down with your team to plan for the upcoming year, here are five tips to help you think through your ideas and strategies.
- Before anything else, identify the why. If you want people to jump on board with your ideas, you need to create a vision for them to follow. Identifying the why and communicating that in everything you do is essential for leading your church to the place God is calling you to be. Before you answer 'what' or 'how' in regards to your programs for 2014, you must first answer 'why'.
- Focus on process more than ideas. Most church leaders don’t have a problem coming up with new ideas, but the reason most of those ideas crash and burn is because they never take time to create a process or system to support them. Every idea requires buy-in from other people. A solid process will actually help you achieve your ideas by influencing and dictating the behavior of the people who help you implement them.
- Don't forget that ideas cost money. There’s nothing more frustrating for a ministry leader than to get excited about a new ministry idea only to have it shot down because there’s no possible way a church could fund it. Learning how to accelerate generosity in your church while you’re planning will prevent the frustration that comes with limited budgets.
- Create a communications plan for your plans. Rolling out your new plans to volunteers and church leaders without having a plan can make them feel overwhelmed. Don’t let your members drown in a sea of information. Create a communications plan for your ministry plans so that everyone knows the direction your church is headed next year.
- Gain insights and perspective from an outside source. One of the most valuable things you can do is bounce your ideas off someone who’s been in your shoes but isn’t connected to your church. Seeking objective feedback from an outside source will help you gain a 30,000-foot view on your ministry plan and identify some of the roadblocks or issues that you may not recognize on your own.
An additional resource for your 2014 ministry planning:
One of the reasons some church leaders don’t value planning is because they’re not sure where to start. No one has ever taught them what effective planning looks like. If that’s you, I’d definitely encourage you to pick up my friend Tony Morgan’s latest eBook, Developing a Theology of Planning. In it, Tony walks through how your church can implement a system of planning to make wise decisions about the future of your ministry.
What are some things you’ve learned about ministry planning that might help other church leaders who are struggling through the process