This article on how to develop a strategic plan is a continuation of author Barry Voss’s previous article here where Barry addressed why a strategic plan is necessary in Part One.
Develop Your Church’s Strategic Plan
Here are some basic steps to use when developing a strategic plan:
Step #1: Organize a strategic planning group. The first thing you want to do is to put a team together who will develop the plan. You should pick key people who have appropriate skills or background in what you are planning.
Step #2: Outline your Plan. The starting point to any plan is a simple outline that defines your vision and key needs. This is the foundation of the plan. Getting this step right guards against making a critical mistake that ends up invalidating the final plan.
Step #3: Add details to the Plan. Using the outline, determine the list of activities you are going to implement to meet each need that you have identified as necessary to achieve the vision. Each activity should include their timing, resources, tactics, and organization. This is where you focus on how each need is to be met.
Step #4: Gather input from others in the church. Once you have a draft of your plan, ask others within the church or ministry for their thoughts, opinions and perspective. This will enable you to adjust the plan or introduce new ideas that you had not thought of.
Step #5: Prepare a written document. Writing a plan down helps to clarify it and uncover missing activities or ideas. The plan can then also be distributed for others to comment on and provide a base point for discussions and reference.
Step #6: Finalize the Plan. Prepare the final written strategic plan that the team members can review for accuracy and completeness. I suggest that you have each member of the planning team sign the document to acknowledge their agreement with it..
Step #7: Communicate the Plan. The last step in the planning process is to communicate the plan to team members and to the church or ministry. The important thing here is to communicate to the church or ministry what the plan is and what your intentions are.
Can a strategic plan change? Absolutely! A strategic plan is not meant to be carved in stone, meaning that it can never change. A good strategic plan must change because our environment and situations are constantly changing. And because things change, the plan must change and adapt to the changes that affect it as well. Some of the assumptions included in the plan are no longer valid. Some of the people you had counted on to implement the plan are no longer at your church. Some of the costs you estimated have gone way up or way down since the plan was made. All of these changes will impact the plan and must be taken into consideration if the plan is to be implemented effectively. Without a plan in place you could make erroneous assumptions or inaccurate evaluations on the true impact of the change. Taking the time needed to evaluate the impact and make adjustments to your plan will enable the church or ministry to better manage its resources and more effectively achieve its vision.
(taken from chapter 9 of our Management for Church Leaders™ Volume #1 Training Manual © 2010)