Statement of Purpose
The Strategic Plan is the church’s guiding document developed by the church staff and Eldership, containing the detailed plan for accomplishing the church’s mission. It is always available via the Management System, functioning as the primary tool for communication and staff accountability. The bottom line is this; the Strategic Plan is “the plan,” demanding the attention, focus, and priority of all church staff and Eldership.
The Strategic Plan is “evergreen,” meaning it never expires, having no defined beginning or ending. It is always in effect. The Strategic Plan is revisited/revised annually in October/November, prior to the coming year’s financial planning process. It is then reviewed and updated by church staff on a monthly basis, beginning in January.
For the purposes of the annual revisit/revision, a 3-year planning horizon is assumed. Attempting to plan beyond that is difficult, obviously due to uncertainty. The primary focus during the annual planning process should be on the coming year. However, there are many “objectives” such as capital campaigns, building programs, direct mail (and other advertising initiatives), major events, etc. that many times require consideration beyond the coming year.
The mission is the statement of what the church is trying to accomplish. All Christian churches have basically the same mission … to “reach the lost.” It is, however, stated differently depending on the unique DNA and approach of the church.
The Church’s mission is to … “Help people become fully devoted followers of Jesus.”
The vision is the statement describing how the church is going to accomplish the mission. In other words, what’s the unique approach the church is going to take to “reaching the lost,” helping people to become fully devoted followers? More than many, this church is focused on reaching people who are “un-churched.” Therefore, the church’s vision is specific to the un-churched.
The Church’s vision is to … “Build a church that un-churched people love to attend.”
What does this mean? Above all else, it means that decisions will be viewed from the perspective of an un-churched first-time guest. The church’s leadership often says, “We will offend the churched person before we will offend the un-churched person.” Or, “We will offend the Christian before we will offend the non-Christian.”
This church is an “attractional growth model” church. An important part of the vision is the intentional creation of something “excellent” that “attracts” the un-churched person to check out a Sunday morning service. It’s critical that the Sunday morning experience is excellent enough to inspire believers and to thrill the un-churched friends and family they invite. In fact, it will be via the Sunday morning service that a believer will experience something “so awesome” that they will be motivated to invite their friends and family. Un-churched people are attracted to Sunday morning services and, eventually, are connected to the church through becoming part of the community by being asked to serve and/or being invited to a group.
Core values are those key beliefs and/or statements of fundamental principles that are “non-negotiables” for the church. They are the values the church will literally “die on the hill” over. Everything the church does must be consistent with its core values. The core values will rarely if ever, be changed or modified.
The Church’s Core Values are …
Biblically Based – The Bible alone dictates what we believe and practice.
Culturally Relevant – To be effective the church must remain culturally relevant.
Evangelistic – Followers of Jesus are passionate about evangelism.
Church Planting – We will be a church-planting church.
Community – Life change happens best in community with other Christians.
Discipleship – Followers of Jesus obey his teachings.
Excellence – Excellence honors God and inspires people.
Grace – We will foster an environment of love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
Stewardship – We will give our time, spiritual gifts, abilities, and finances to extend Christ’s kingdom.
Critical Strategies and Key Objectives
The “actionable” part of the Strategic Plan consists of critical strategies, each broken into key objectives. Critical strategies are the highest-level objectives that begin to break the plan down into its different and distinct areas of focus. Key objectives are the detailed actions identified under each critical strategy.
The church’s critical strategies and key objectives are outlined below:
(1) Numerical Growth – In order to increase the church’s reach in the local community and beyond and to fund more and more ministry activities, numerical attendance growth must continue to be a major focus. The goal is to grow average weekly attendance to x,xxx by the end of 2016 (x,xxx adults, xxx students, and xxx kids).
(1.1) Commit to planning and executing 12 “big Sundays” every year that will function as a “parallel” to what’s happening programmatically in adult, student, and children services.
(1.2) Focus on and invest in getting the word out about these 12 “big Sundays” by advertising in as many ways as possible (banners, step stake signs, newspapers, billboards, radio, other?).
(1.3) Knowing that the most effective “advertising” method is encouraging the congregation to invite a friend, increase the frequency of “invite a friend” (invite cards, stage pushes, etc.) pushes from the previous 4 “growth” weekends of the year to 12 times/year in support of the new 12 “big Sundays” growth strategy.
(1.4) Commit to executing two direct mail campaigns (Easter and Christmas Eve) every year.
(1.5) Given the church’s dependence on weekend services and special events to attract and retain new people, develop and execute a plan to radically improve everything about the “entrance to exit” experience.
(1.6) Fund numerical average weekly attendance growth to x,xxx by the end of 2016 through a 3-year “Growth” capital campaign.
(1.7) Formalize and document the church’s “Missions Strategy” before the end of 2014.
(1.8) Plant a 2nd campus by the fall of 2017.
(1.9) Drive growth in numerical attendance through the development of growth objectives in each ministry area.
(2) Conversion – The church’s strategy continues to be reaching people who are not yet Christ-followers. Therefore, helping people to cross the line of faith continues to be a high priority. The goal is to baptize x,xxx people by the end of 2016.
(2.1) Keep the need to be baptized as well as the church’s aggressive goal of x,xxx baptisms constantly in front of the congregation.
(2.2) Help new people get connected through a monthly “welcome class” held the same Sunday each month, making it easy to promote.
(2.3) Keep a focus on getting people connected and in relationships with others, with emphasis on spiritual growth, through volunteer teams and groups.
(3) Discipleship – After conversion, engage new believers in developing themselves into fully devoted followers of Christ, fueling the church’s growth through an ever-expanding base of growing believers. The goal is to grow small group attendance to 50% and volunteer participation to 75% of average weekly adult attendance by the end of 2016.
(3.1) Improve the weekend service as a tool for developing believers through significant improvement and investment in teaching and moment creation.
(3.2) Help new believers understand what it means to follow Christ, beginning to live out the 5G’s through regular Foundations Classes, facilitated by staff and lay leaders and scheduled to accommodate everyone.
(3.3) Develop, document, and implement a Donor Development Strategy that continuously increases giving per capita.
(4) Organizational Effectiveness – Strengthen and enable the church to execute this plan through a focus on leadership development and organizational infrastructure.
(4.1) Establish leadership development and personal growth plans and goals for staff, resulting in an increase in overall organizational effectiveness.
(4.2) Renew the church’s focus on Leadership Evangelism as the primary means of identifying and deploying new leaders.
(4.3) Improve the church’s ability to grow through the development of infrastructure strengthening objectives in each ministry area.
(4.4) Develop and execute a plan to revamp the church’s Information Technology infrastructure, moving from a PC based network and hardware to MAC and use of the “Cloud” for file sharing, business processes, etc.
(4.5) Take development, documentation, and implementation of all ministry and church business processes to the next level, with a renewed emphasis on the development and expansion of the Management System.
Working with the Ministry Staff, the Executive Staff adds or modifies critical strategies and key objectives as part of the annual planning process.
Critical strategies and key objectives drive the development of Personal Plans for each ministry staff member. Personal Plans contain objectives and tactics, each directly connected to Strategic Plan Key Objectives.
Personal Plans are formally reviewed with each ministry staff member on a monthly basis. Updates are documented and filed in the ministry staff member’s personnel file.
Key Performance Measures (KPMs)
As part of the Strategic Planning Process, certain measures are established to help the church determine the effectiveness of the plan. In keeping with the Performance Cycle, it is necessary to routinely review “results.” These results are called Key Performance Measures (KPMs) and are reviewed regularly. The review is a comparison of the results the plan is delivering versus the original stakeholder needs identified in the beginning.
To the extent possible, a “measure” should be established that helps the church understand every stakeholder’s needs. Additionally, these KPMs should be graphical. It’s very difficult to learn anything from a listing or table of numbers. The Stat Sheet, for example, is a good “at a glance” weekly tool to be used to keep staff and other key stakeholders informed about some important results. Data should be taken from the Stat Sheet (and other places such as the church’s church management software) and be made graphical for review and assessment of how well the plan is accomplishing its goal to “meet stakeholder needs.”
Of course, this can result in a pretty extensive list of graphs (KPMs).
Here’s an example listing of a good set of KPMs:
- Average Weekly Attendance
- Average Weekly Attendance by Service
- Annual Average Weekly Attendance
- Average Weekly Attendance – Children’s Ministry
- Average Weekly Attendance – Middle School
- Average Weekly Attendance – High School
- Groups Measures
- Membership Class Measures
- Average Weekly Giving
- Average Weekly Giving Per Capita
- Percent Giving Online
- Total Accumulative Giving
- Front Door Donors
- First Time Guests
- Starting Point Class Attendance
- Volunteer Participation
- Website Traffic
- Facebook Page Likes