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From Vision to Action: Strategic Planning for Your Congregation

Michael Poorman, Executive Pastor of Mission Point Community Church

Have you considered how strategic planning could help your congregation fulfill its mission more effectively? This month, we invited Michael Poorman, Executive Pastor of Mission Point Community Church in Winona Lake, Indiana, as our guest blogger. Michael recounts Mission Point’s journey of strategic planning to amplify their impact for the Kingdom of God. Dive in to uncover invaluable insights and actionable steps drawn from their experience.

Mission Point Community Church exists to show and share the love of Jesus where we live, learn, work, and play! In 2010, six families were confronted with a reality that stirred a deep and holy discontent: fifty thousand people in a county of seventy thousand claimed no church affiliation. That reality was daunting. As that group of families met in a home to pray, the Holy Spirit made it clear that He was calling us to not only be the voice of Jesus to the unchurched in our county but also to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the underserved. A primary way we do this is through advocating for hope and home for vulnerable children in foster care and adoption.

Where we have gathered has changed over the years (a restaurant, a Christian school, and now a local high school), but the mission has remained the same! We are on a mission to reach our community for Jesus.

As we have grown over these last 14 years, so has the need to be strategic, efficient, and effective in order to maximize our impact for the Kingdom of God. Over the past year, we felt a stirring to reassess, reexamine, and reevaluate how to most effectively live out our mission. We knew we wanted to bring in a consultant because an experienced person with an outside perspective adds so much value to the strategic planning process. However, consultants can be expensive, making it tempting to try to do it ourselves.

This is why we are so grateful for a grant through the Center for Congregations, which allowed us to bring in an expert who walked us through a Spirit-led discernment and strategic planning process.

We met with the consultant three times to determine what our goals and objectives needed to be. He listened to us and the Holy Spirit to discern our next steps. We determined we needed a two-day offsite meeting with key stakeholders in our church to discern what God was calling Mission Point to in two specific areas: 1) advocating and caring for vulnerable children and 2) sharing Jesus verbally.

Before that two-day offsite, we deployed two teams of 10-12 congregants to conduct listening tours and gather data. They talked with people in our community about vulnerable children and with other congregants about how and why (or why not) they share Jesus with others. It was crucial for us to get real, qualitative data for the discernment process. We then compiled and synthesized all the responses and sent them to the stakeholders, who met for two days, poured over the data, and discerned God’s plan for us. God showed up, and at the end of those two days, we had a clear picture of what God was calling us to do.

We took those strategic priorities on a two-day staff retreat, where we made that high-level thematic goal/rallying cry actionable. Each department created goals, and we put together a strategic scorecard to track our progress moving forward. Departments heard each other’s ideas and started to develop cross-departmental goals to help our church grow in advocating and caring for vulnerable children and sharing Jesus verbally. This created even greater levels of collaboration and teamwork, which was an added benefit of the process.

Each month, at our team lunch, we go over our scorecard to report progress on our objectives and goals and update the team. We also have the goals posted in our HR software and check in weekly on progress, making adjustments as needed.

We are elated that we’re seeing our plans progress well, and our team is aligned and chasing the same goal as we all play our part. We are excited about where God is taking us and are so thankful to the Center for Congregations that helped make all of this possible.