Strategic Planning

“Well-run programs and non-stop activities offer no guarantee of Mission Advancement”

– Steve Logan, Founder of Mappings

Three Planning Paradigms

by Jim Plueddemann, Ph.D.

We need a gracious revolution in our thinking about Strategic Planning. We are not likely to be effective by merely becoming more efficient within the old paradigms. Christian-based organizations need a new paradigm to guide them.

Here are three strategic planning paradigms— The Factory, The Wildflower, and The Pilgrim, each of which may be influential at different times.  Admittedly, and for the sake of clarity, these three approaches are presented in extremes. Nonetheless, we must leave the first two paradigms behind and move on to consider the Pilgrim paradigm for Strategic Planning.

No Plan?
No Problem.

Doing Ministry Without a Ministry Plan

10 Reasons Not to Plan

For Consideration when Planning

  1. What is God’s purpose for ministry planning?
  2. When does planning become non-biblical?
  3. Do we have to plan “strategically”?
  4. How often can we change our plans?
  5. What does it look like to plan?
  6. What if our plans don’t pan out?
  7. What does God want us to measure?

Healthy Reasons for Planning
Unhealthy Reasons for Planning
  • Our mission is not advancing appropriately.
  • We are not clear on our mission.
  • We are not sure what to measure.
  • Our Board micro-manages too often.
  • We are unclear on our organizational priorities.
  • Our budget is not aligned to our priorities.
  • We are doing some things right, but are we doing the right things?
  • We need more money to fund what we are doing.
  • We need more people to show up to our stuff.
  • Everyone is else doing it.
  • We haven’t done any strategic planning for a while.
Tom Peters, famous for In Search of Excellence, writes:

“Plans? Goals? Yes, I admit that I plan and set goals. After I’ve accomplished something, I declare it to have been my goal all along. One must keep up appearances!  In our society “having goals” and “making plans” are two of the most important pretenses. Unfortunately, they are dangerous pretenses — which repeatedly cause us to delay immersion in the real world of happy surprises, unhappy detours, and unexpected byways.”

“Meanwhile, the successes keep going to those mildly purposeful stumblers who hang out, try stuff with reckless abandon–and occasionally bump into something big and bountiful, often barely related to the initial pursuit.”

We like Tom.