God wants our churches to grow, to prosper and to realize their full potential in and through Him. That’s the message of Jeremiah 29:11-13:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
While strategies provide a general plan of attack for accomplishing your vision, action plans are tactical decisions that lay out specific steps to get the job done. Laying down action plans is the most critical moment in the MAP process.
While it’s easy to create high concept strategic ideas or brainstorm an edgy innovative approach, that’s not the point. The goal is to do something meaningful that’s grounded in realistic expectations for a church and its people. Write a rubber-hits-the-road list of tasks that make sense for your church and community.
Resist the urge to create a plan that’s so far outside the lines (or walls) that it can’t be realistically accomplished. Stretch your thinking and work for strategies and action plans that meet church and community needs. The key point is to think strategically about every facet of the church and its ministry.
Write Everything Down
A written ministry action plan (MAP) forms a playbook to direct your ministry efforts. It tells you where you should spend your time and invest your money. It guides what leaders to train and what ministries best connect with your outreach focus. Most importantly, a written plan details what contextual ministry means for your church both now and in the months ahead.
Some strategies will stay the same from year to year, while others will change over time. Action plans will also change, of course, since they are completely dependent on the strategies they feed. Create a ministry action plan for a one-year period and then return to evaluate the results. Then set aside time to make adjustments and renew the plan for another year.