Making Good Choices
When you develop strategies and action plans, it helps to narrow your perspective to the key ingredients most important to success. While it’s not difficult to brainstorm ideas that others have tried, the important question is: Does the idea take the ball down the field with our church and community?
A ministry, program or event shouldn’t be created or sustained for any other purpose than meeting church and community needs. Churches have plenty of other reasons for doing things in ministry, and most of them don’t quite pass the vision, values and outreach focus tests we’ve talked about here. You’ve probably heard many of these excuses before:
- We’re really anxious about making any changes.
- What if we fail?
- What happens if some people get mad and leave the church?
- This event is an annual thing we do and we can’t change it.
- This ministry program is my calling and my ministry. How can we possibly think about doing something different?
- We’ve never done it that way before.
Attitudes like this usually result in a self-perpetuating cycle of plateau or decline.
So what breaks the cycle? Think strategically to clarify the who, what, when and where of your ministry action plans.
Strategy & Action Plan Filters
Think about ministry with these four filters:
- Target – Consider who will participate, why they will come and how they will get there.
- Goals & Purpose – Identify the purpose or objective of the ministry activity.
- Measures & Success – Outline what success looks like.
- Follow-Up or Follow-On – Design a follow-up or follow-on strategy that will build and sustain momentum.
Apply these four ingredients to each strategic area and action plan you create. Are there key filtering ideas that clarify your action plans? If so, make a list and use it to guide the process. As you minister to your congregation and reach your community, evaluate the effectiveness of your ideas in terms of target, goals, measures and follow-up.