How to Develop A Strategic Plan in 7 Steps

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How to Develop A Strategic Plan in 7 Steps

Author Barry Voss gives practical how-to's on how to develop your church's strategic plan.

This article on how to develop a strategic plan is a continuation of author Barry Voss’s previous article here where Barry addressed why a strategic plan is necessary in Part One.

Develop Your Church’s Strategic Plan

Here are some basic steps to use when developing a strategic plan:

Step #1: Organize a strategic planning group. The first thing you want to do is to put a team together who will develop the plan. You should pick key people who have appropriate skills or background in what you are planning.

Step #2: Outline your Plan. The starting point to any plan is a simple outline that defines your vision and key needs.  This is the foundation of the plan. Getting this step right guards against making a critical mistake that ends up invalidating the final plan.

Step #3: Add details to the Plan. Using the outline, determine the list of activities you are going to implement to meet each need that you have identified as necessary to achieve the vision.  Each activity should include their timing, resources, tactics, and organization.  This is where you focus on how each need is to be met.

Step #4: Gather input from others in the church. Once you have a draft of your plan, ask others within the church or ministry for their thoughts, opinions and perspective.  This will enable you to adjust the plan or introduce new ideas that you had not thought of.

Step #5: Prepare a written document. Writing a plan down helps to clarify it and uncover missing activities or ideas.  The plan can then also be distributed for others to comment on and provide a base point for discussions and reference.

Step #6: Finalize the Plan. Prepare the final written strategic plan that the team members can review for accuracy and completeness.  I suggest that you have each member of the planning team sign the document to acknowledge their agreement with it..

Step #7: Communicate the Plan. The last step in the planning process is to communicate the plan to team members and to the church or ministry.  The important thing here is to communicate to the church or ministry what the plan is and what your intentions are.

Can a strategic plan change? Absolutely! A strategic plan is not meant to be carved in stone, meaning that it can never change.  A good strategic plan must change because our environment and situations are constantly changing.  And because things change, the plan must change and adapt to the changes that affect it as well.  Some of the assumptions included in the plan are no longer valid.  Some of the people you had counted on to implement the plan are no longer at your church.  Some of the costs you estimated have gone way up or way down since the plan was made.  All of these changes will impact the plan and must be taken into consideration if the plan is to be implemented effectively.  Without a plan in place you could make erroneous assumptions or inaccurate evaluations on the true impact of the change.  Taking the time needed to evaluate the impact and make adjustments to your plan will enable the church or ministry to better manage its resources and more effectively achieve its vision.

How might your church take the first step toward planning a strategy?

(taken from chapter 9 of our Management for Church Leaders™ Volume #1 Training Manual © 2010)


FaithLife Ministries was founded by Barry Voss & Kim Star-Voss in 2001 as a ministry to train and equip Christian leaders in the mission field. In 1996, Barry first heard the call to go to the mission field. On that mission trip to Kazakhstan, he sensed God’s call on his life to serve Him in a mission field ministry. He continued to respond to that call by going on several more mission trips to teach and minister in 1997. In 1998 he felt God’s call to organize and lead mission trips, and so he recruited and led teams to Peru in 1999 & 2000 through Missions International, a Nashville based mission agency. In 2001, God led Barry and Kim to decide to incorporate in order to lead mission teams on their own, and so FaithLife Ministries was born. They led their first mission trip to the Philippines in May of that year. On that trip Barry taught a workshop on Church Administration.  Our Philippines host invited Barry to come back the following year and teach on that topic for an entire week at their Bible School.  As a result, Barry developed the Management For Church Leaders™ training course.  Since then this ministry has continued to grow as God has led us to more mission field contacts and opened up more opportunities for us to train and equip the leaders of His church.

In 2005, Barry was called to work full-time in this ministry. His focus is on church leadership and management training.  The Lord has continued to affirm our teaching and has led us to seek more opportunities and foreign trainers.

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