July 11, 2015 Tony Morgan

How Strategic Planning Should Really Work

“We’re just building the plane and flying it, too.”

Have you ever heard this figure of speech? It may be valid if, for example, you’re experiencing a season of rapid growth, or if you find yourself in a situation for which your organization legitimately could not have planned. More often, this sentence gets thrown around in meetings to account for a lack of planning. The mindset behind the sentence can creep in and become an excuse for everything that happens without strategy.

Your planning meetings aren’t strategic if…

…they don’t start with honestly acknowledging where things are now.

…they aren’t rooted in a clear mission, vision and core values.

…they don’t prioritize for staff what’s important now vs. what should be revisited later.

…they don’t create accountability by identifying key deliverables, target dates and next steps for each priority.

Most churches have planning meetings with good intentions to become more effective at reaching people with the love of Jesus. Few churches plan strategically.

Proverbs 19:2 (ESV) says, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” I believe gathering the facts, planning ahead, and courageously seeing plans through is a biblical principle churches too often neglect.

This is why my team at The Unstuck Group uses a Strategic Planning Process to help your church plan. The process produces a balanced strategy and a plan to implement it within a two-month period.

It goes something like this:

  1. We spend two full days guiding your team through the planning process.
    Your team will learn to manage the organization as a whole entity, not a collection of parts. Each step logically and systematically builds on the next, blending together the strategic (planning for tomorrow, today), operational (managing today, today) and financial (funding it all).
  2. We provide you with the tools you need to assess progress on an on-going basis.
    We’ll produce an at-a-glance plan document you can use to keep the vision and key deliverables in front of your leaders.
  3. We return 4-6 weeks after the planning visit to help your team kick off the implementation of your strategies.
    Your leaders will present their thoroughly planned initiatives, and we’ll help you navigate the next steps.
  4. We coach your team through the implementation of your plans.
    We stick with you. You’ll have monthly coaching time with our team as you move forward.

I really believe in this process. I’ve seen it work for hundreds of churches of various denominations all across the country. Here’s what Planning Retreat can do for you:

  • Gives you clarity from multi-dimensional perspective tools and cross-functional interaction.
  • Helps you discover the truth of existing and emerging realities.
  • Encourages creativity and allows new ideas to surface.
  • Clarifies the vision.
  • Aligns your leadership team to see your organization as a whole entity, not a collection of parts.
  • Creates unity as each team member relates his or her role to the strategy and plan.
  • Establishes accountability through personal ownership and responsibility.
  • Focuses on what’s important now, increasing performance and minimizing wasted effort

We’re already booking planning retreats with churches into next year. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what this process can do for your church. Click below.

Click to Learn More

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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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