It’s hard to believe but we are already into the 4th quarter of 2013. As we move closer to the end of the year it might be a good time to think about those things your church should be doing now to plan for 2014.
There is an old saying “If you fail to plan – you plan to fail”. Planning helps us stay focused on those things that help move us closer to achieving our mission. This includes ensuring there are resources available in the next 12 months to support church strategy.
It’s a good time to start scheduling those church leadership meetings to discuss plans for 2014.
2014 Church Planning – 7 Things to Think About
1. Church Strategy
The economy has taken its toll on churches and the changing environment has been very challenging. That makes it a great time to revisit the strategy and direction for your church. This should include planning for the predictable as well as the unpredictable. For example, look at those things that might be standing in the way of your church fulfilling its mission. Devote some time to do a SWOT analysis and talk about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and how your church can build on its strengths and address its weaknesses. Strategy and planning is how churches continue to grow and develop members.
2. 2014 Church Goals
Effective church management is about devoting time to strategize and write goals. Writing church goals can help to provide direction and the steps to achieving strategy. Goals that are managed through a performance management process are how successful organizations achieve strategy and move to the next level. The unpredictable economic climate has forced more churches than ever to spend time strategizing for the future.
3. Church Budget
It is sad fact but many churches are experiencing a decrease in donations and are struggling with the unpredictable economic climate. This makes it even more important to go through a formal church budgeting process that designates funds to support strategy and mission. This process should include looking at how the ministry spends its resources and plans to invest in those things that further its mission. It is also a good time to look at those capital equipment needs and put a plan and budget in place to ensure the funds are available when needed. For example, if your sound board is on its last leg, reserve some resources for next year now so you don’t end up having a Sunday to remember!
4. Church Volunteers
Volunteers are the engine of the church and without them most churches would have to close their doors. Develop a volunteer strategy and spend some time soliciting feedback from your volunteers so you can put a plan in place to improve the volunteer experience. Volunteers have a great perspective and can offer insight into improving operational efficiencies. Take advantage of this valuable resource and spend the time and resources to support their efforts!
5. Church Employees
This is also the perfect time of year to write church employee goals for 2014 and update church job descriptions to reflect those goals. Church employees facilitate the church experience and have special needs. Talk to your employees and look for ways to keep them engaged and committed. Burned out employees simply go through the motion so spend some time finding ways to keep them focused! The volunteers and church members rely heavily on church employees so be sure to take care of them!
6. Church Members
Spend some time focusing on church members and their needs. After all members fund the church so talk to congregants and make sure the church is meeting their needs within the boundaries of the church mission. Members have a vested interest in the church so take the time to understand their experience so you can incorporate their needs into strategy. For example, if there is an aging demographic in the church body, make a plan and budget to start a program for people over 60. Investing in these groups can pay off big time in donations.
7. Emergency Preparedness
Every church should have a plan to activate in the event of an emergency. Now is a good time to review and update the emergency preparedness plan to ensure your church is ready for the unexpected. It is only wisdom to have a plan and know how to respond in the event of an emergency. Who more than the church should be prepared?
The recession is forcing church leaders to think about what they are doing and how they can sustain church growth. There is no secret formula, but good planning and fiscal responsibility, coupled with a well structured performance management process is a great way to start!
Have you mapped out a plan for 2014 yet?
If you would like information on how Smart Church Management can help you strategize and map out a plan for 2014, please contact us by clicking here.
This article was originally posted, September, 2013. Updated October, 2014.