This is an Essentials Track workshop. Tilley spoke yesterday about leadership, describing that leadership had four roles: Coach/Motivator, Change Agent, Spokesperson and Direction-Setter. Leadership comes with four responsibilities: Vision-Casting, Strategy Formulation, Aligning and Motivating. Today, he will talk about setting direction. Strategic planning in church planting can feel like “building a plane while trying to fly it.”
OBJECTIONS TO PLANNING
1. It is not spiritual to plan. False dichotomy.
2. Plans tie people down. We become enslaved to a plan. [What Tilley is talking about, by contrast, is a strategic planning process, not something set in concrete.]
3. Successful businessmen are often frustrated when it comes to church planning, because it is a volunteer organization, and it can feel inefficient.
4. Over-emphasis (or, at the other extreme, lack of recognition) on God’s sovereignty.
PERSPECTIVES ON STRATEGIC PLANNING
1. Strategic planning is a tool to create, shape and claim the future….not simply manage the present.
2. As Paul was a “skilled master builder” (I Cor. 3:10), we also must consider how we build. We are architects.
3. Seek counsel via prayer and wise friends (Prov. 20:18; Isa. 30:1).
4. Understand the times (I Chron. 12:32).
5. Be able to articulate a clear call, or people will not be able to rally around you (I Cor. 14:8).
6. This process needs to be simple.
Tilley recently read Organic Community: Creating a Place Where People Naturally Connect. One of the themes in this book is the danger of having an intricate “master plan” imposed by a main leader upon others in a top-down fashion, and ownership is not shared. That is not helpful, and Tilley cautions against it.
7. This process is not the only way to plan, but it is a team process. (Eccl. 4:9-12)
It extracts the value from other members. It is self-aligning. Leader can write the first draft in pencil.
8. It is a process and therefore adaptable.
We are ready to capture “such a time as this” moments. It defines our work….agenda for meetings. It “speaks to us” about our decisions. A leader should think about his plan 3 times/day.
SIX QUESTIONS YOU MUST BE ABLE TO ANSWER ABOUT YOUR PLAN
1. What is your vision?
2. What is your current reality?
3. What resources do you have to get there?
4. What practical steps will you take to get there?
5. How will you allocate resources? (leaders, money, systems)
6. What am I learning along the way? (evaluation)
VISION – A MENTAL PICTURE OF A DESIRABLE FUTURE
ABCs of a good vision: Appropriate, Bold, Clear, Desirable, Energizing, Feasible, Godly (consistent with God’s heart & His word)
How to work with your people on articulating a vision? Ask your leadership team to write out their hopes and dreams for the church. What has God put on their hearts? At Tilley’s church, they put all of their dreams in a DNA paper.
Identify milestones and millstones.
Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT analysis)
Identify “mid-course corrections” related to the four roles of a leader.
1. Leaders (the right kind of leaders in sufficient numbers) [Exod. 18; Acts 6]
4. Infrastructure (technology, communication, etc.)
Leadership Community: Staff and lay leaders
Tilley does not want to have a staff-driven church. However, it is important to have lots of volunteers so that you can periodically relieve them to avoid burnout. And there are some positions which need to be filled by staff.
QUESTIONS WORTH ASKING
What happens if we give insufficient attention to capacity?
It puts extraordinary pressure on you as the leader to be “superman.”
Who is responsible for developing the critical mass (capacity) of the organization?
This goes on the leader’s to do list, and it behooves the leader to involve the team to get help.
CRITICAL PATH (STRATEGIES)
How does the plan “speak to us” about how to identify our next steps (strategies)?
We identify next steps by listening to our current reality, our vision, and our resources. For example, if your reality is that your church as a gap in discipleship, this might become one of your steps, or priorities, for the coming year.
What are some marks of a good strategy?
A good strategy fits the current reality, moves you toward your future vision, and generates new resources.
Where does tactical planning fit in?
Each path step warrants its own tactical plan. For example, if “improving children’s ministry” is a priority step for the coming year, what is the tactical plan? This involves roles (who will lead it), goals (where are we headed), tools (what is needed), and time (what’s the timeline).
How do you choose path steps with your team?
This works best if you brainstorm path steps in light of your vision and current reality. But, of course, not every idea is created equal! But get it all out there, then go back through and choose 3-5 top priority steps.
Each “path step” needs a point person (primary person responsible) or a team.
Resources (money, time, people) are drawn from the critical mass and distributed according to priorities.
1. Cultivate a culture with your team that learning is on-going.
2. Maintain an environment in which “grace and truth” are balanced. Share honestly, but in love.
3. Remain open to feedback.