1. Vision, Mission and Values
The first step is writing a church vision, mission and values statement. This step is important because it clarifies what the ministry is about and what it is trying to accomplish. It also clarifies the guiding principles or values by which it operates and makes organizational decisions. This is arguably the most important step because it sets the direction of the church. Without clarity of vision, any organization can be susceptible to steering off course.
2. Strategic Plan
After the vision, mission and values are written, a church strategic plan can be developed. The plan simply maps out the necessary steps needed to achieve the ministry’s mission and vision. This kind of church plan can be both short term (3-6 months) or long term (1-3 years). There was a time when strategic plans went as far out as ten to twenty years but because of rapidly changing conditions, shorter term plans seem to be more effective.
3. Organizational Goals
Church goals should be written at the organizational level as the first step in strategic implementation. This involves high level goals that the church as a whole is trying to accomplish. These high level goals are typically what a Business Administrator is accountable for to the board or governing body.
4. Departmental Goals
Once there are defined ministry goals for the organization as a whole, goals should then be delegated to the respective ministry heads or department managers. This is where the chain-of-command flows responsibilities downhill. For example, a Business Administrator may have responsibility to achieve goals at the organizational level but may use the help of a ministry head or volunteer to accomplish those goals. The ministry head or volunteer may then use employees or volunteers to help achieve goals.
5. Employee Goals
Departmental goals should be delegated to employees within the department to share the responsibility of getting things done. Some churches don’t have employees but may use the help of volunteers to help accomplish goals. The more people who help and have accountability for achieving goals, the more achievable the implementation becomes.
6. Job Description
A church employee’s or volunteer job description should reflect their goals and should be updated annually to reflect goal responsibilities. This ensures job description accuracy as well as accountability for goal completion.
7. Performance Appraisals
A well structured performance management process incorporates annual goals into the employee appraisal. Holding employees accountable at performance evaluation time ensures management of performance and goal completion. Holding volunteers accountable requires good communication coupled with the right volunteer in the right position. We will talk more about that later.
Churches that invest the time clarifying their mission and vision and develop a strategic plan that disseminates goals throughout the ministry not only experience success at implementing the plan, but also engages employees and volunteers to support the mission of the organization. This kind of engagement is how God uses the body to build the church!