Planning is important but do it effectively
- Planning is an ongoing activity that happens over and over again in council meetings and committee meeting. Council and committees must take time to plan for the coming year.
- Planning is an AMPAP activity. AMPAP stands for As Many People As Possible. Planning is not a small group activity with a specific planning function but planning needs to reach out to the entire congregation. Some of the best planning ideas come from people who have not been active in the church before, people who are not the leaders of the congregation, and people who are on the margins because their vision is not blinded by the past and what we know is right to do.
Limitations of planning
- Realize that planning is a guess. “Why don’t we call plans what they really are: guesses. Start referring to your business plans as business guesses, your financial plans as financial guesses, and your strategic plans as strategic guesses. Now you can stop worrying about them as much. They just aren’t worth the stress.” (From Rework, page 19)
- Plan at least for a year but don’t waste time in planning more than three years ahead and I’m beginning to believe that two years might be the upper limit. The longer range the plan, the more chances it has to be wrong because the guesses are so far into the future.
- Make sure that you do not let planning be determined by the past. Plans can let the past drive the future. Remember what worked in the past may not work today.
- Don’t simply copy other churches for this is a wonderful opportunity for failure. When we simply copy another ministry, we fail to understand the steps it took to develop that ministry and why it worked at the other church. If you discover a good idea in another congregation, see how you can adopt it to your congregation. See if our gifts, talents and local opportunities for ministry will allow us to develop a new ministry from that idea. The end result will probably bear little resemblance to the original idea, but if it is rooted in the gifts of your congregation—not the gifts of another congregation– it can succeed.