In my previous post What is Strategic Church Leadership?, I discussed the need for an overall strategy for looking at the local church. As pastors and church leaders, we need to set aside time in our schedules for Big Picture Thinking – looking at the church from an overall perspective. Now, I want to begin to unpack the Strategic Church Leadership Process. In this post, I will share the first two steps in the process and subsequent posts will share the remaining steps. Here is the diagram that I use to explain all the steps in the process.
The process begins in the bottom right corner and progresses as you move up the right side of the mountain. After reaching the peak, you journey back down the left side of the mountain. Then, you move across the bottom of the mountain and begin climbing again at a deeper strategic level. Thus, the process is an ongoing and deepening look at the strategy for the local church.
Step One: CLARIFY THE CULTURE
This step takes a look at our current reality. Our goal here is to accurately define our current reality. Before any strategic planning can begin, we need gain an understanding of our current situation. The current reality of any church includes the following:
- Culture – what is the current culture of the church? This is “how” we do things around the church. It includes both written policies and unspoken rules and expectations.
- Vision – what is the current vision of the church? Is it accomplishing that vision, or do we need to rethink and redefine the vision?
- Health – what is the current state of health of the church? Are we ready to move forward with a change process, or do we need to spend more time in this preparation phase?
- Leadership – what is the current state of the leadership of the church? Have the pastor and/or staff developed personal growth plans? Are they prepared to lead the church to the next level?
Through a variety of conversations, surveys, and evaluations, the church can gain a significant understanding of it current reality. Once it has done so, then the church is ready to move on to step two.
Step Two: IDENTIFY THE VALUES
Once we’ve identified the current reality of the local church, then we begin to explore the values of that church. This step is a two-part process. The first part involves defining the purpose and values of the church. Every church has the same purpose and mission in the world. The purpose includes fellowship, discipleship, worship, evangelism and ministry. Each church also has the same mission in the world – to “go and make disciples.” As we look at the scriptures surrounding the purpose and mission of the church, we seek to develop a unique way of stating them for each local church. [For example, at FaithPointe, we use the word REACH: Reaching (evangelism), Embracing (worship), Advancing (discipleship), Connecting (fellowship) and Honoring (ministry).] This will be used later in the process of “branding” the church in the community
In addition to the purpose and mission statements, we develop the values of the church. We ask the question “As you seek to fulfill God’s purpose and mission for your church, what are the 5 or 6 core values that are important to your local church?” Each church will develop a unique set of core values that define who they are in their local setting. [At FaithPointe, we use Missional, Transformational, Loving, Relational, and Holiness.]
The second part of step two involves defining the unique vision that God has given to your local church. This is a 6-month process of discovering God’s specific vision for your church. Vision is found by exploring the unique gifts and passions of the pastor, the gifts and abilities of the local church, and the needs of the local community. Where each of these three areas overlap, you find God’s unique vision for your church. This part of the process should not be hurried and is essential as the foundation for everything else we will be doing in the subsequent steps.
Once the culture has been clarified and the values identified, we can then move on to setting the goals necessary for accomplishing the vision. We’ll talk about that in my next post. Until then…
- Do you know what the current reality of your local church is?
- Do you know the unique purpose, mission, and values that God has given to your church? And, are you stating them in a way that people can remember in implement in their lives and in the leadership of the church?