We arrived to the conclusion, that yes, there is hope for the church; but that hope rests on our responsibility as leaders to strategically plan out the mission for our church.
In the very popular movie, War Room, the opening scenes of the character, Miss Clara, she makes mention of her life’s prayer strategy. In order to successfully accomplish any mission, a plan must be made. It’s really that simple. Why do we find it so hard in ministry to discipline ourselves in this regard? A few years ago, I heard a preacher say, “ministry seems to be the one area where continual education lacks.” There are many professions that require continual education. My step-father, for example, is a pharmacist, and he is required to complete many hours of continual education if he wants to retain his license. Yet, in ministry, we don’t always have the same urgency. Not only that; 95% of pastors surveyed say they do not pray with their spouses. They feel overworked, underpaid, under qualified, and overall stressed. I wonder how much of that is a result of lack of planning and preparation for ministry?
No matter where you are with your church, you can always begin a new phase if you’re committed. Start today with a new plan. What are some key fundamentals to strategic planning?
- Develop a mission statement. (A mission statement is that; a statement, not a paragraph. A mission statement should pass the t-shirt test. For example; Nehemiah’s mission statement might have been, “Rebuild The Wall”)
- Develop the vision for your church. (A vision is the picture you envision. For example, let’s say you want to go on an island vacation. Well, the island, the sand, the blue water is the vision. It’s the end result, if you will. Do you have a vision for your church?)
- Examine your core values. (Why are you doing what you’re doing? Core values look different for each church. Maybe family is one of your core values so you tailor your ministries around family. Maybe the homeless has a special place in your heart, so many of the ministries planned center around reaching the homeless.)
There are no right or wrong answers. The important factor is spending time with God in prayer and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead you. Your church cannot look like the church across town. God made you different. God has different people He needs you to reach. However, there is no getting around it. A plan is necessary. Nehemiah had a plan. Moses had a plan. Joshua had a plan. David had a plan. Solomon had a plan. Jesus had a plan. When Jesus was questioned before going to the cross, He could have easily stopped Himself from being crucified. His non answers to Pilate was part of the plan!
According to the American Society of Church Growth, only 20 percent of America’s 367,000 congregations actively pursue strategic planning, and those churches who do not, are in danger of becoming stagnate. (Aubrey Malphurs, Advanced Strategic Planning A 21st Century Model for Church and Ministry Leaders, p.33)
If your church is not thriving, seek God. Why would He not want His church to thrive? Ask Him to help you with a strategy. Get into your community. A big beautiful building won’t attract people – you will! Your community is your mission field. Be involved. Get to know them. Ask God to send you the right staff and put together a solid plan of action to win God’s people. There is always hope. I pray today you embark on a new mission for the wonderful entity we call Church!
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