By Ms. Jolynn Chew

Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash


And how God grows a team through Effective Planning

03 Apr 2023

Does the year have too many initiatives despite only one theme? Do leaders initiate and champion various things in different directions?
Do people plan pet-projects that are important to their passions with little regard for the overall church effect?
Does the calendar seem overloaded with new items added or subtracted along time way as normal practise?

At a planning for a church sized 200, when CLR introduced the planning process, we discovered that the budget process was unclear to leaders and often inaccurate and late. There was little intentional way to evaluate the past and integrate senior leaders and ministry leaders input together.

At another planning for a church sized over 1000, the planning was complex and robust, but it called for equal voting leaving the elders unable to give a stronger spiritual leadership as the overly structured process locked inputs and moved ahead without sufficient processing.

  • Do you see such signs and traits in your church through the year?
  • How do you plan for your ministry?
  • When do you start deciding what should be the focus for the year ahead?
  • How do you decide on budget allocations when faced with financial constraints?

Different churches approach planning differently. Some embark on it energetically, utilising the latest planning and thinking strategies over an intensive planning weekend. Others take a more organic approach, perhaps concluding on a theme for the future, but allowing the actual details to take shape with time.

Church planning is not meant to be a surgical task of collating reports and submissions. A planning framework that brings together ministry leaders and engages them in reflective evaluation can be a helpful, transformative process.

Here are three reasons why churches may benefit from such an approach:

1. Planning leads us to God together

Good planning brings us on our knees before God. It recognises the gravity of the need to seek God for His desires for His church. It calls and enables key leaders to make time to be together to prayerfully reflect and wait upon God for His direction. They embark on planning in the “spiritual atmosphere of God’s presence”. Without this intentional setting aside of time, the senior leader sometimes ends up bearing the weight of seeking direction alone.

“A planning framework that brings together ministry leaders and engages them in reflective evaluation can be a helpful, transformative process.”

2. Planning builds team communication & mutual empathy

Some church ministries inevitably end up operating in silos, with each ministry leader leading his team toward their own ministry goals. Churchwide planning cascades information & ideas across ministries and age-specific groups by creating platforms to share, explore and understand the church’s vision. Listening & understanding helps members understand each other. This inevitably unites them.

Each ministry contemplates how they contribute towards this common thrust, while listening in as other ministries share their concerns and ideas.

3. Planning grows the character of church leadership

A planning framework organises our minds and guides us as we try to steer into an unknown future. Team prayer & thinking together solidifies unity in the body of Christ and postures leaders in humility. Listening to other ministries builds our empathy and understanding of the often-unnoticed intricacies that others grapple with. These are just a few aspects how planning develops us as leaders.

The planning process seldom pans out neatly.

At one such session, church leaders were debating what their key focus should be for the year ahead. It was exhausting and the team seemed to be going round in circles after a few hours. But as I reflected, this is the essence of planning.

Planning will no doubt eventually lead us to goals and strategies for the years ahead. But it is the process of planning – when leaders are humbled to seek God, serve each other, and allow themselves to grow – this is what blesses God’s heart and allows His Spirit to flow united through the church.

Churchlife Resources walks alongside churches to customise planning frameworks and facilitate team dialogues on the topic.
CLR coaches churches in developing a robust process for the church and trains the church leaders of running such processes independently for the church’s future.

Ms. Jolynn Chew is an Associate Consultant at Churchlife Resources.

She specialises in processes and administration, and through her strengths, she is able to have a deeper analysis about pertinent issues in churches and broaden her perspectives.

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