The Strategic Church Leadership Process, Part 2

Strategic Church Leadership

In The Strategic Church Leadership Process, Part 1, I discussed the first two steps of the process:  Clarify the Culture, and Identify the Values.  Once the culture of your church has been clarified and the values identified, you can then move on to setting the goals necessary to accomplishing the vision that God has given you for your church.


Developing good goals within the church setting is a difficult process.  The exception to this is when your leadership team is comprised of business leaders and executives who have been exposed to the goal setting process.  However, taking the time to help your leadership understand how to develop good goals is crucial to achieving your unique vision.  In this step, you begin to develop a list of goals that the church needs to accomplish in order to make the vision a reality.  In goal setting, it is vitally important to understand the many varied aspects that go into planning the goals for the church.  I will list a few of the major aspects here.

  •  Begin with the vision – some would call this beginning with the end in mind. What does the end result look like?  It is important to keep before you a clear picture of what you are trying to accomplish.
  • Break it down into smaller milestones – the total vision can be overwhelming at first. So, the next step is to break it down into manageable parts.  You might look at the vision and identify 4 or 5 parts that it naturally breaks down into.  Here, you begin to see the vision as a series of steps or milestones.
  • Brainstorm – make a list of all the possible ideas that would help you accomplish each of the milestones that you have identified. Do not evaluate each idea, but simply let your creativity go and make a long list of possible ideas.
  • Develop a list of SMART goals – this is an acrostic to help us remember that all goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. All good goals will fit all the areas of this acrostic.  At this stage, we attempt to narrow our list of goals to 10 for each milestone.


Here is where you determine what goals to work on first.  Once you have your list of SMART goals, you need to narrow the focus and begin to develop your strategy of what to work on first.  This is where we apply the Pareto Principle.  The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80-20 rule, was developed by an Italian economist by the name of Vilfredo Pareto.  (For more information on the Pareto Principle, search “Pareto Principle” on Google.)  Applied to your goal setting, the principle reminds us that 20% of your goals will achieve 80% of your results.  So, your next step is to identify which 20% of your goals will provide the best results in achieving your unique vision.

Using the list of 10 goals from our last step, you can now begin to narrow down which 2 of the goals will provide the best results.  Some might ask why not just go with all 10 goals and have a better chance of hitting our milestone?  The scientific research has shown that organizations which attempt 10 goals have a very small chance of achieving their objective.  However, those that focus on just 1 or 2 goals have a significantly greater success in achieving their objective.  By narrowing our focus, it enables your leadership and your congregation to remember what your target (goal) is that you are attempting to reach.  Thus, instead of doing a lot of things in a mediocre fashion, you focus on doing two things well and you will achieve greater results.

These 1 or 2 goals, then, become the main focus of your church over the next 6 – 18 months.  During this time you will need to focus on your 1 or 2 goals that you’ve identified and begin to develop a series of lead measures, a scoreboard to let you know if you are achieving your goals, and an accountability structure designed to keep you on track and doing the right things to achieve the goal.

Focusing your strategy on just the one or two goals that give you the 80% of the results you are looking for is the best way to fulfill the unique vision God has given to your church.  Next time we will look at steps 5 and 6 of the Strategic Church Leadership Process.  Until then…

Have you developed a set of SMART goals to help you achieve your unique vision? Without a set of goals toward which you are moving, the vision is nothing more than a statement on a page that you will most likely never accomplish.

What are the one or two goals that will give you 80% of the results you are looking for in achieving the unique vision of your church?

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