December 27, 2015 Tony Morgan

Sermon Series Planning Is Not Strategic Planning

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A few weeks ago, I posted a poll on Twitter that asked this question:

Has your church started planning for 2016 yet?

About 70 people responded, with 84% saying yes and 16% saying no. While that’s hardly a scientific sample (not to mention that people who follow me on Twitter are probably more likely than the average church leader to think strategic planning is a good idea), some comments popped up as a result that I thought were relevant. Namely, some leaders mentioned that they have their sermon series planned for 2016.

With that comment, it was clear the word “strategic planning” probably means different things to different people.

It’s not that planning your sermon series isn’t strategic — it’s that planning your sermon series is only one very small part of strategic planning. It’s not the most important part. It’s not even where you should start.

So, here’s what strategic planning means to me:

  • You set aside time to get perspective.
  • You honestly answer the question “Where are we now?” by looking at external and internal patterns and trends.
  • You plan for the future. You answer the question “Where are we headed?” You establish or confirm mission, vision and core values.
  • You define or re-define your core strategies. You get your whole team on the same page as to how you are planning to align your time, energy and resources to the vision.
  • You map out how you will put your plans into action by asking “What’s important now?” You empower your current team and identify gaps that need to be filled by volunteers or near-term hires.
  • You build accountability with action plan leaders, dates and deadlines.
  • Your planning seamlessly blends together the strategic, operational and financial aspects of your ministry.

Have you already started on that kind of strategic planning for 2016? If not, I encourage you to learn more about how a process like this can unleash the potential of your church and your leadership.

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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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