Creative Strategic Planning With Dave Workman

Posted by Dave Workman on 9/22/20 10:00 AM

DavePicThe uncertainty of this year so far has caused all of us to innovate like crazy.  This weekly blog chronicles much of our journey as a software company. 

Hopefully this season will soon be over.  To help capture what you've learned, I wanted to share with you a conversation with Dave Workman about an affordable, fun, and creative way for a team to do strategic planning. 

Dave was part of Vineyard Cincinnati, an innovative mega-church, from its inception and then as Sr. Pastor for 13 years.  Currently he is president of Elemental Churches, a leadership development group devoted to helping churches become healthier and more effective. He is the author of Elemental Leaders and The Outward-focused Life.  

At the end of this interview is an opportunity to learn about focus and a promo code to save on this exciting product.

Dave, you've been doing creative, innovative ministry a long time.  How do you see this current season of uncertainty in terms of innovative potential?

This is certainly a unique time in my recollection…but not from a big “C” Church perspective. There have been pandemics and plagues before. The 2nd and 3rd century Christians—while undergoing persecution themselves—took a totally outward-focused approach and went into plague-infested towns to care for the sick and dying, fearless of their own safety. Instead of thinking about their own survival, they turned that around and, interestingly enough, caused the Church to thrive.

As far as how local churches function in this Covid-19 season, I’m not sure anyone has it totally figured out. But like the old maxim, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” I’ve often found in my own life that I’m my most creative when resources are slender and I’m forced to innovate. These are the best times for leadership teams to coalesce around a particular challenge and tap into their collective smarts and hearts by asking, “What could be?”

Focus3And by the way, that’s why I’m enamored with teams—there is no lonelier role than the solo pastor. It’s exhausting trying to row the boat by yourself. The very first thing a pastor should do is build a leadership team…and a team focused on the strategic scope of the church. Get more people rowing in your leadership boat!—your stress levels will definitely drop.

 What role does strategic planning have in helping a pastor and church navigate such a season of uncertainty?

If a pastor and church have already clarified the “why” question for their existence—that is, they know their God-given vision, mission, and core values—the “how” question is the next big one. In other words, how are we going to get the mission done and fulfill our vision? Strategic planning is all about the “how.” It determines the focus, priorities, next steps, and timeline for accomplishment. Planning brings dreams to life. And when it’s done in the context of a leadership team, the ownership of it increases exponentially. Without team ownership of a strategic plan, you’re dead in the water.

How does FOCUS help a church develop a strategic planning strategy?  

FOCUS uses a gamified approach to get the best out of a team. Using action-learning principles in a fun, highly-interactive context, leadership teams experience a planning process that’s effective with real results and accountability. We beta-tested FOCUS for nearly a year with a wide variety of churches across the country—Independents, Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal—and learned a lot that we tweaked. But the main learning was: this thing really works! And because it’s self-facilitating and avoids consultancy fees, the average church can do it.

I love this feedback we recently got from a pastor in Arizona: 

Focus1"We’ve tried to do strategic planning in the past but always ended up with a mishmash of unrelated goals, loosely owned but never championed. The whole FOCUS process brought clarity and accountability to our plans in a process that honored all the voices around the table and led us to a sense that God was in it all—and on top of that it was fun. The team is now energized around common goals and strategy. What a gift!” —Dan Lind, Sr. Pastor, Faith Bible Church, Glendale AZ

 I pastored for thirty years and know how hard the job is. We just want to help pastors—who all signed up like I did to see lives change—with all the stuff we weren’t necessarily trained to do. We simply help with what I call “organizational discipleship.” Let’s get the mission done organizationally. And that simply means: together. 

Click here to view a super-short video of how FOCUS works

If Focus looks like a helpful tool for your team, use the promo code CHURCHTEAMS25 to save $25 when you order.

Tags: Misc. Insights

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