Understanding how God calls us to engage in God’s work is the crux of strategic planning. Many denominations have taken action to support congregational planning by building online repositories of resources and tools. As one example, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), as a part of their Mission Planning webpage, has curated do-it-yourself planning resources created across the ELCA and other traditions. Here are some planning resources that are included. “Research Strategies for Congregations” (actually a resource of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.) provides do-it-yourself research tools to assist you in listening to your congregation and community. “Congregation’s Life Cycle” is a simple self-assessment that invites a congregation to reflect on its place in the life cycle and the challenges and opportunities from that place. “Manual for Congregational Mission Planning” offers a step-by-step process for congregations desiring to create or revise a ministry plan. “One Body Many Members” provides a variety of tools to help congregations reach out and welcome people of different race, culture, and class. These and numerous other downloadable documents can be easily adapted for use by a variety of congregations. Be sure to check your denomination for similar planning resources specific to your tradition.
Reviewed by Sandra Herron