One definition of a catalyst is this:
“a person or event that quickly causes change or action”.
From my experience, there are four significant catalysts that are leading churches to consider strategic planning in 2014. In this four-part blog posting, I will introduce each one and provide tools to help you assess whether you have this catalyst at work in your midst. One or more than one of these 4 catalysts may trigger planning for you.
Catalyst #1: You haven’t developed a plan for 5 years or more (or ever)
If you’ve never conducted strategic planning, you are missing out on the opportunity for greater focus, more complete unity, and the joy of seeing missional execution.
If you have planned in the past, but your plan is 5 or more years old, it is likely that it has outlived its usefulness. The answer to that depends on several factors: how big the vision was; how well-crafted your strategies were; how attentive you have been to implementation of your strategies; and how much internal and external change you have experienced since the plan was developed.
Assessment Questions: Take a half hour and write a narrative in response to these questions. If your narrative is clear, concise, and motivating, you likely do not need to plan. If it is vague and incomplete, you very likely need to plan for the future. This can also be done as a group exercise.
a. Who are we?
What is our mission, our actual values, our aspirational values, and our internal strengths and weaknesses?
b. Where are we?
How aligned are we to 2014 and beyond? What is the nature of our external community? What are the implications of that?
c. Where are we going?
In light of who we are and where we are, what is our preferable future? What is our vision for what we must be and can be with God’s empowerment and our focused efforts?
d. How will we get there?
What is the short list of 4-7 strategic initiatives that will allow us to realize our vision? Who has “the ball” for each of these? What is the sequencing of strategy implementation?
e. How are we managing our progress?
What disciplines do we practice to ensure that what we set out to do is being done? What do we monitor and measure? How do we regularly refresh our vision and our strategies? How are we leading change?