Sunday, July 12, 2009

At our church what do we want to have happen?

Every church needs a plan, and every plan needs goals, and goals are formed from understanding the expectations and requirements of church stakeholders. Are you still with me?

Once we have some understanding of the expectations and requirements of the various church stakeholders then we need to figure out how the church can go about meeting those expectations over the next 2, 5, 10 years. And if those expectations were met what would be the results, the outcomes? Once we have identified those outcomes they become the plan goals. The production or achievement of these outcomes can take place in the short term, the intermediate, the longer term, thus the 2, 5, 10 year plans.

Let's take but one example. Members say they come to church to worship and they do this because it gives them comfort, and inspiration. Everyone agrees that the church needs to provide worship services that are comforting and inspirational. The goal might be stated as "80% of parishioners who attend weekly worship services at least 24 times per year (twice a month) will report on survey that they experience those services as comforting and inspirational."

Let's say we have done a survey and only 40% of parishoners say that they find the services comforting and inspirational. The question is how can we create worship services that increase the number of satisfied parishoners from 40% to 80%?

Once we have specified the goal or outcome, now we are able to design the activities most likely to help us achieve our desired outcomes. Would we improve the music, the preaching, the prayers, the hospitality? Would we add elements to the service and delete some or modify others?

So a good plan starts with understanding the expectations and requirements of church stakeholders, articulating desired outcomes/results that would meet those expectations and requirements, and designing activities that would produce the desired outcomes.

There are two more pieces to this model which is called a "logic model" and those pieces are: what are the resources needed to carry out the activities and how would we evaluate and measure our progress and results?

A good plan will result in church success.

BUUF will create a church that will thrive because we will have clear values, a sense of purpose, and create the mechanisms to sustain and nurture a congregational life over the years.

This is article #8 in a series on the Birth Of A Congregation.

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