This is the third post in my series, Developing Your Ministry Game Plan. The final step of your game plan is often the most exciting step to take because it is where all the planning and dreaming begins to take on a practical application. The final step of your ministry game plan is to develop an action plan for how you will live out and accomplish your mission and vision statements.
A mission statement clearly communicates the direction the ministry is headed and answers the question, “What are we supposed to be doing?”
A vision statement provides details as to what the future looks like for an organization or ministry.
Your action plan defines how you will accomplish your mission and vision statements by outlining a detailed plan of action. Your action plan acts as a GPS as you live out your mission and drive towards your vision for the future.
Action Plan GPS
Goals — Setting goals for yourself and your ministry is vital to the success of achieving your mission and vision. Goals help leaders remember their purpose and stay focused on what is important. When there are no goals in place it can become easy for leaders to devote their time and energy into the wrong things. This can lead to frustration, wasted time and worse, burnout.
When you begin to think about your goals, ask yourself:
- How can we practically accomplish our mission statement? This is why your ministry exists. What do you need to do in order for your ministry to live out your mission?
- What must happen for our vision for the future to occur? Think practically about the logical steps that must occur to achieve what you see for the future.
- How long does our ministry have to accomplish these goals? Some goals will take a few months to accomplish. Others might take years. Think about the time frame required for achieving your vision.
Once you have set your goals, spend time reviewing them weekly and/or monthly. Ask yourself, “Are we living out our mission and moving towards our vision?” Evaluations like this will be an encouragement or a warning. Based on your evaluation, your goals may remain the same or change. Our methods for accomplishing our mission and vision may change, but the mission and vision will not change.
Persevere — When you begin to look at your goals and how you will accomplish them, it is important that you not give up when times get tough. One of the most devastating things a leader can do is get frustrated and quit. Michael Hyatt calls this time period between goals the “Messy Middle.”
When you find yourself becoming frustrated, take a few moments to look back on what has been accomplished. When I’m tired or feeling deflated, I often look at how far our ministry has come, and how we have achieved many of our early goals. Remember, celebrating the past can be constructive, but living in it can be destructive.
Share — An early mistake in my ministry was never sharing my ministry plan with anyone. I had everything in place, but I was afraid to share it with anyone. Eventually I overcame that fear and showed it to several members of our staff and the parents of our students. I was shocked by the enthusiastic response I received from several people as I clearly shared the mission, vision and action plan for my ministry.
Helping people understand what your ministry is all about is a crucial step for the success of your ministry. If people cannot explain why your ministry exists and what it is seeking to accomplish, it probably has little to no importance to them. Know that some people will simply not care even if you explain it all to them, but that does not give leaders an excuse for not communicating to people about their ministry.
As you seek to develop your action plan, remember that the ministry you lead must be fully submitted to God’s plans. Daily submit yourself before the throne of grace and ask the Lord who knows all things for wisdom and guidance as you seek to lead your ministry.