Randy Harp did a superb job sharing much of his acquired wisdom in the area of strategic planning for churches in a break-out session at the 2015 BBFI Fall meeting at High Street Baptist Church (Springfield, MO). Suggested reading: Advanced Strategic Planning (Malphurs), Visioneering (Andy Stanley), Seven Practical Practices of Effective Ministry (Andy Stanley), Eat that Frog.
This entry was posted in Church and tagged church, goals, leadership, mission, mission statement, pastor, strategic planning, vision by Greg Burdine. Strategic Planning is a continuous and systematic process where people make decisions about intended future outcomes, how outcomes are to be accomplished, and how success is measured and evaluated. Strategic planning in the public and not-for-profit sectors is different than strategic planning in private sector firms. The public and non-for-profit sectors do not have the universal measuring tool of bottom-line profits that applies to private sector planning. Public sector stragic planners typically find themselves caught in the middle, between those who want higher program service levels, and those who want less expensive or less intrusive programs. Blackerby Associates has had considerable success in helping client organizations to raise and resolve conflicts arising from the goal-setting process.
Blackerby Associates has helped many organizations to design and implement open strategic planning processes that receive and process input from a wide variety of related interests. The plan-to-plan is a project plan that describes how the organization will develop its strategic plan.
The mission, goals and values element always begins with the mission, the broadest possible description of the organization's vision of its future. External needs assessment is an appraisal of the key outside trends and forces that influence the success an organization will have in achieving its mission and goals. An outcome measure is a yardstick, or standard, used to measure success in achieving a strategic objective.


Strategic priorities rank each strategic objective according to its relative importance to the organization. In the strategies element, planners identify all the alternative approaches, rate them according to criteria such as timeliness, projected cost or effectiveness in achieving a strategic objective, and then select a set of strategies that will best achieve the performance target specified in the strategic objective.
Performance feed-forward is a systematic procedure for comparing actual performance to planned performance, and for using that information to improve subsequent planning cycles.
An effective strategic planning process enables companies to take control of their future and remain focused on the critical areas that will result in sustained periods of growth and success. By definition, strategic planning is a process by which an organization’s leaders define and implement the strategy to achieve the company’s fundamental purpose. Especially with small entrepreneurial organizations, senior leaders have little time to spend on anything that doesn’t provide clear benefit. To be effective, it is necessary to clarify and understand the expectations of the planning process. Although the depth, frequency, and specific process used will differ for every company, there are some basic elements that greatly increase the chance of success.
Also included in an effective process are key indicators, which measure the organization’s success in achieving the objectives. Develop key objectives to be completed over the following 1-3 years (depending on the organization’s normal planning horizon).
Take action when necessary (based on the review) to get the organization back on track toward achieving its key objectives.
The steps presented above require a lot of reflection and discussion in order to assure that the plan and associated actions address what is critical for the company.
Exhibit 2 presents an example of the one-page plan for ABC Products Company resulting from carrying out the process.


The one-page plan is a simple document that communicates the work of many hours of work by the senior leadership team. Our church had a strategic planning session and it was the pivotal moment of our church that gave us renewed purpose.
What are some gauges that should be used (examples: attendance, offerings, first time guests, 2nd time guests, involvement). While strategic planning must indeed produce a product, a Strategic Plan document, the primary value comes from the teamwork, vision, commitment to and ownership of organizational success the planners gain through the process of making the decisions the document contains. Organizations that are ready to plan strategically have leaders who are ready to make decisions. A well-written strategic plan will describe clearly how anyone can tell whether the organization is successful. These external trends and forces may pose either an opportunity or a threat to the organization, such as changes in economic conditions, population, technology, environment, or statutes. In the Performance Strategies model, a strategy is an approach, or an implementation methodology, that will lead to achieving a strategic objective. The plan may measure intended future outcomes either quantitatively or qualitatively, but it always defines threshold criteria for achieving success.
The arrows indicate the general sequence of the elements, but planners often find themselves backing up to re-examine an element they had already drafted. These debates do not typically occur in private sector strategic planning, where profit is the goal, and more profit is better than less.



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