A STRATEGIC PLAN EXPLORED (Part One)

Introduction:

[Several months ago I was asked to put together a strategic plan for a church to become more organic and simple. The following article is what I submitted with a few editorial changes.]

The following strategic plan is in no way exhaustive and set in stone. It is still in the theoretical stage, and will certainly need to be tweaked as the opportunity to apply this plan is pursued. The idea of merging the concepts of organic, simple church to a traditional attractional model church is revolutionary. Although some have accomplished this with success (1), it is still experimental and risky. With the Lord’s direction can an already established congregation be lead into a more simple and organic church life? I will share this strategic plan in six parts over the next few days.

A personal note:

Several months ago my wife and I were observing the fact that some of the things we were doing were changing and not producing the results we were expecting. We felt like we were adrift and needed to hear from the Lord regarding what we should do or what needed to change. So we took a few days off and went away to seek the Lord. We found a beautiful cabin the mountains of southwestern Virginia and determined to find our way as we listened to the Lord. To make it brief, what we discovered was that because of my ideal view of what the church should be, I had become stingy with the calling and gifts that the Lord had freely given me. I was given these gifts to minister and equip the Body of Christ, but because of my dreams for Church as God sees it, I was withholding what Jesus had given to me.

The solution is not yet clear other than I need to stop being exclusive and be willing to serve the Church regardless of how she functions. Therefore I committed myself to the Lord to serve his bride no matter what she looked like. That brought be to a place to consider what a more blended church would look like and the process to bring her to a more organic, simple expression which gave me the opportunity to write up this strategic plan. By “coincidence” after this time of seeking the Lord, I had received Neil Cole’s newest book (with Phil Helfer); “Church Transfusion – Changing Your Church Organically From the Inside Out” which greatly influenced some of my conclusions and observations. I recommend this book greatly.

I hope that this strategic plan will get you thinking about this process as well. Our next section will be discussing some foundational issues and definition regarding simple, organic church.

Don

Footnotes:

(1) Cole, Neil, Church Transfusion – Changing Your Church Organically From the Inside Out, Jossey-Bass, 2012

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I have this hobby of sorts, and that is surfing the web and looking at local church web sites. This morning while I was being distracted from doing something constructive I ran across a church’s web site and I began to realize that things are not as they seem. What do you call someone who says one thing but does another?

What I am talking about is that every pastor/church leader I know argues the fact that church is not the building, the facility, the property, but it is the people. So true! But, when you go to any church website that has a page or section describing their history, what do we usually read about? We read about their building projects! We read about the buildings they used, where they were and what improvements they have made to those properties. But there are no stories about the church (I’m talking about people). Their history gives us no insight into the lives of the saints in that congregation. This holds true as to whether the church is an older historical church, or they have come into existence in the past twenty years. It’s all the same. Their history is all about their “campus,” their architecture or their series of building programs! According to their history, the church is their facility, there is no mention of Jesus or the people.

Are we confused? Does the church truly see itself as people and not a building? That’s what we are taught to say because it is theologically correct. But ask them about the history of their congregation and see if you hear any stories about those who have met together, laughed together, served together during their long or short history, and see if my research is accurate. If I continually say I believe something, but turn around and do and record something differently – where is my credibility? Maybe that is just another reason why organized religion or organized Christianity has lost so much of its credibility in a world that Jesus loves.

If you were going to write the history of your church – would it be about Jesus and his people, or would you do what others have done and write a narrative about the buildings you have met in?