A while back, I took a seminary course about church management. In the course, we learned that it is advantageous for spiritual communities to create strategic plans in order to ensure that they function effectively. Although broadly defined, a strategic plan is basically an organization’s outline of its purpose as well as how resources will be allocated to accomplish the strategy. Generally, a strategic plan will be able to answer important questions such as “What do we do?” and “How do we excel?” In recognizing how advantageous a strategic plan can be for a business, it is important that you know how to successfully put one together. If you are interested in developing a strategic plan to help your organization move forward, here are three components you should be sure to include:
1. Mission Statement.
A mission statement is a type of statement which defines the primary purpose for which an organization or enterprise exists. To make this purpose plain, the mission statement enumerates the undergirding principles that give the organization shape and substance while also outlining the organization’s vision and goals. This morning, I completed the strategic plan for the Young Adult Ministry where I serve (SE7EN). The mission statement of the strategic plan reads thus:
“The mission statement of the SE7EN Young Adult Ministry is to equip, educate, and empower young adults to be leaders in the kingdom of God. To accomplish this mission, SE7EN strives to move in the Power of 1. Doing so incorporates consistent implementation of evangelism strategies such as witnessing and ministering to the lost. In addition to implementing evangelism strategies, SE7EN seeks to disciple young adults through the use of small groups that include consistent prayer and Bible study. Other measures that will be implemented to ensure that young adults are successfully discipled include assigning prayer partners as well as an accountability system that helps develop spiritual maturity and sincere devotion to Christ. Through our evangelism and discipleship efforts, SE7EN will accomplish its goal of expanding the kingdom of God at a local, national, and global level.”
As you can see from the data included in the mission statement, it includes the ministry’s undergirding principles, which include things like evangelism and discipleship. The mission statement also includes the goal of reaching people all over the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. This mission statement is effective because it offers the reader a clear understanding of the ministry’s purpose while alluding to the objectives and goals that will help realize the purpose.
Objectives are an important aspect of a strategic plan because they provide a brief yet detailed outline of what the organization is attempting to accomplish. In writing the strategic plan for the Young Adult Ministry where I serve, I included four objectives that are directly related to the principles and values enumerated in the organization’s mission statement. Some examples of objectives would be the ones I listed while creating the strategic plan for the SE7EN Young Adult Ministry. They are: 1. Make disciples. 2. Evangelism. 3. Develop Leaders. 4. Increase Ministry Membership. (In some cases, you may find that the information listed in your organization’s mission statement is not detailed enough to function as a springboard through which you list your objectives. If this is the case, the mission statement may need to be modified or you may need to gain an understanding of what the organization is attempting to do. There are several ways you can obtain this information, including through the use of surveys and questionnaires through which organization members define and discuss the organization’s purpose while also submitting suggestions regarding what the objectives are and how they can be accomplished.)
While objectives should be an integral aspect of an effective strategic plan, they should be accompanied by goals that outline how the objectives will be accomplished. For example, one of the objectives I listed for the strategic plan I wrote for the SE7EN Young Adult Ministry is to make disciples. I then wrote two goals which detail how we will accomplish these objectives. The goals read thus:
Goal 1-Hold leadership meetings each Wednesday night to help facilitate spiritual growth through personal and professional development.
Goal 2-Implement a prayer partner program such that each participant can grow through the support of another believer who holds them accountable.
As made plain by the goals listed above, they provide our organization leadership and members with strategies which will help us accomplish the objectives we created. Indeed, by holding leadership meetings to facilitate the spiritual development of our members as well as implementing a prayer program so that they are held accountable for the things they say and do, our ministry can become more effective in developing disciples.
Although many people think making a business or organization successful is a difficult or impossible task, it doesn’t have to be. By implementing the principles I’ve listed above regarding how to create a strategic plan, you can be on your way to developing a strong, successful organization. Good luck!
Jocelyn Crawley is a 28-year-old college student currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity degree in preparation to become a pastor. While her writing interests are diverse, topics of intrigue include politics, history, literature, and religion. She holds B.A. degrees in English and Religious Studies. Her work has appeared in Jerry Jazz Musician, Nailpolish Stories, Visceral Uterus, Dead Beats, The Idiom, Thrice Fiction, Four and Twenty, Kalyani Magazine and Haggard and Halloo. Other stories are forthcoming in Faces of Feminism and Calliope.