7 Priorities in Implementing a Strategic Plan

Notebook with clips and text "Plan" on gray background

All of us have dreams and desires concerning the church we serve. At times, I have a great idea but fail to implement it. How about you? William Danforth stated, “No plan is worth the paper it is printed on unless it starts you doing something.” We all agree with Danforth, but the question remains: How do we implement our plan? I have been helped in implementation, in part, by seven principles similar to John Maxwell’s and my dad’s (my dad taught me these principles years before I read Maxwell):

1) Creativity.

Created in God’s image, you are, therefore, creative. Pray for creativity and vision. Think outside the box. Empower others to dream and be a part of receiving a plan from God.

2) Heart. 

Believing this plan is from God, your heart blazes with passion and excitement. Tim Redmond says, “There are many things that will catch my eye, but there are only a few things that will catch my heart. It is those I consider to pursue.”

3) Politics.

Hold on, don’t stop reading. If you implement a plan, you must be able to influence the influencers. I always prioritize getting the “movers and shakers” involved and supporting the plan (and I pray that God makes them think it is their plan). You will need their assistance.

4) Focus. 

You cannot do everything at once. Concentrate and focus on one thing at a time. Peter Drucker observed, “Concentration is the key to economic results. No other principle of effectiveness is violated as constantly today as the basic principle of concentration. Our motto seems to be, let’s do a little bit of everything.” 

5) Flexibility.

My dad told me often, “Son, in church work, you will either be flexible or you will break.” He is correct. Everything will not go the way you planned. When you face problems and seeming “roadblocks,” don’t stop; pray for resourcefulness so you can improvise and continue to move forward. 

6) Timing. 

Wait on the Lord. Make sure every plan is bathed in prayer. During this preparation period, talk to leaders. Observe the “temperature” of the church. Listen to God and your congregation to determine when the time is “just right.”

7) Teamwork.

Maxwell correctly remarks, “A worthwhile plan should be bigger than your abilities. You shouldn’t be able to accomplish it alone…Unless we rely on a team to help us, our plans succumb to our personal limitations.”

This article was written by state missionary Rob Jackson.