3-Level Vision Planning

Planning

When I first began in ministry over 25 years ago, a lot of discussion within the church leadership setting centered around long-range vision planning.  We were taught that each church should set goals for what they want to accomplish over the next 20 years.  These goals were based upon the vision that God has given to your church and they enabled us to set milestones to accomplish 15 or 20 years into the future.

Most experts agree today that long-range vision planning in the church setting has at best become ineffective.  With our rapidly changing culture in America, long-range planning is outdated as soon as we begin implementing it.  Three to five years into our plan we discover that the long-range goals are no longer valid due to the rapid changes in our church and community.  So, how do we plan effectively in order to accomplish the vision that God has given to our church?

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Principle #2: Spend Regular Time in the Balcony

The view from the balcony

In their book, “Leadership on the Line,” authors Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky share a great leadership principle:  get off the dance floor and up in the “balcony.”  The dance floor represents the day to day pressures and commitments of leading your church, while the balcony represents a strategic viewpoint from where you see the overall picture of the church or organization.  It is in the balcony that you take time to plan, strategize, review, pray, and get a clear understanding of the big picture of your church.  It is the time spent in the balcony that gives you the clear picture of what to do on the dance floor. You need to take yourself out of the day-to-day “doing” of ministry and spend time “planning” what you need to do in ministry.  The balcony gives you perspective and informs what you should be doing and how you can be most effective in achieving your goals and God’s vision for your church.

To be effective in leading your church you need to move back and forth between the dance floor and the balcony.  But, with all the pressures of ministry, how do you spend time in the balcony?

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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.

Step Three:  PLAN THE GOALS

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.

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The Strategic Church Leadership Process, Part 1

Strategic Church Leadership

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.

Strategic Church Leadership Process

Strategic Church Leadership 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.  

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The Need for “Big Picture” Thinking

We live in an era of church specialists, from the specialist on your church staff to the specialist sending advertisements about their new product to your inbox each day.  While this has created access to virtually unlimited possibilities for the church, it has also produced an unexpected side effect.  We’re losing the ability of what I call “big picture” thinking – the ability to look at the overall health and direction of the church.  So, we order that new program, or run to that new seminar, thinking it is the solution to why our church isn’t growing.  However, program after program doesn’t seem to fix the problems that we are experiencing, and in some cases, actually makes them worse.

There is a solution.  

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