Steps in the Strategic Ministry Planning Process

[Note: When consulting, I always ask to see the church or ministry’s strategic ministry plan. For those who do not have one I suggest the following be adopted as a good initial template…Ron]

General Principles & Processes



I. Eight phases of leadership making:

  1. Envision
  2. Initiate
  3. Develop
  4. Disciple
  5. Delegate
  6. Oversee
  7. Expand and reproduce
  8. Release

II. Scope and sequence for disciple making:

  1. Salvation
  2. Membership
  3. Fellowship
  4. Training
  5. Serving
  6. Sending

III. The Five “G’s” of Belonging (Adapted from Bill Hybels  – Willow Creek Community Church)

  1. Grace
  2. Growth
  3. Group
  4. Gifts
  5. Giving

Then Ten Steps in Strategic Ministry Planning Process are:

  1. Mission/vision/motto statement—answers the “why” question
  2. Values—our principles and standards
  3. Operational goals—answers the “what” questions
  4. Organizational design & structures—answers the “how” questions
  5. Roles—job descriptions
  6. Goals & Priorities
  7. Budgeting
  8. Scheduling/calendaring
  9. Evaluation/accountability mechanisms
  10. Celebration

Example of a Strategic Ministry Plan for XYZ Christian Church

1. Mission & Motto

The mission of XYZ Christian Church is to be ambassadors of the grace of God in Jesus Christ. We believe this purpose will be accomplished as we, individually and collectively, reach upward (in worship and prayer), inward (in caring and training), outward (in service and witness), and forward (in vision and courage).

A motto is a short distinctive phrase used to identify a company or organization or its goals.At XYZ Christian Church we are helping to make fully devoted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ by reaching upward to God, inward to each other, outward to others, and forward to our destiny.

2. Values

Definition: Values are the accepted principles or standards of an individual or a group. Five key values of XYZ Christian Church are:

  • Relationship(s)—vs. religion. LOL’s Motto: True Christianity is not a religion with rituals, rules, and relics, but a relationship with a living God, by faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! We are committed to developing relationships with the Lord and with one another as fellow-members of the Body of Christ.
  • Grace vs. law/legalism or license. We believe we are made righteous before God based on a free gift of God’s loving-kindness vs. our human efforts (Ephesians 2:8-9). For this favor we are eternally indebted and respond with sincerity of heart in our service for Christ. God’s grace justifies us, but it also teaches us to fear/reverence/respect the Lord and not to use his grace as an excuse for disobedience leading to a lack of holiness. Grace also implies that we desire to be magnanimous, generous, forbearing, forgiving, encouraging, and loving in all that we do.
  • Integrity: Implies the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards. We believe that the church should conduct itself in a steadfastly exemplary manner, thus keeping the Name of the Lord from reproach. Hence, our ministries and ministers will gratefully adhere to appropriate policies and structures of accountability—without inadvertently creating an environment or mistrust and suspicion. Again, all that we do should/will be done in the spirit of loving relationships and grace—even church discipline (Galatians 6:1-3)
  • Teamwork: XYZ Christian Church is a place where dreams for ministry can come true in the context of teamwork. We resist the 80\20 rule by encouraging everyone to serve with others so that no one is doing too much.
  • Relevance: Implies applicability to or connection with real-world issues, present-day events, or the current state of society. Though rooted in our historic Christian legacy, XYZ Christian Church is philosophically positioned to relate our Christian teaching and practice to the context in which we find ourselves–the 21st century.

3. Operational Goals—general


  • To be a praying people
  • To be a worshiping people
  • To be a people who are passionate about seeking and serving the Lord Jesus


    • To be a people who are lovingly related to one another
    • To be a people who are obedient to the Word of God
    • To be a people who are empowered and employing our gifts to serve


    • To be a people who demonstrate the gospel by meeting the practical and spiritual needs of the spiritually lost
    • To be a people who provide a biblically moral influence to our culture
    • To be a people who committed to evangelism, missions, and church planting


    • To be a people of courageous vision to sacrifice
    • To be a people who plan for growth and kingdom extension
    • To be a people who are good stewards of our resources and assets


  • To be a people of high moral and professional standards in the organizational, business, and financial affairs of the church
  • To be a people who value and utilize systems of accountability without becoming critical or mistrusting
  • To be a people who graciously and faithfully share in the work of the Lord together as fellow-members of God’s family

Level of Implementation

  • Board of Elders
  • Ministry Management Team
  • Sub-department church leaders
  • Congregation
  • Small groups and Ministry Teams
  • Training classes
  • Individual lives
  • The family unit

4. Organizational Design

Levels of authority/responsibility/accountability:

  • Board of Elders–governance
  • Officers of the Corporation
  • Council of Financial Review—finances
  • Facility Research Committee
  • Senior Pastor/President
  • Ministry Management Team
  • Departments: Upward, Inward, Outward, Forward, Administration—See Organization Chart

Constitution and Bylaws—Click link to view example for XYZ Christian Church

5. Roles—detailed job descriptions

  • Board of Elders: chair and member
  • Council of Financial Review: chair and member
  • Senior pastor
  • Staff members
  • Ministry Management Team members/leaders: nursery, children, youth, upward, inward, outward, forward, and administration

6. Goals & Priorities

…(Annual goals and priorities need to be developed for all departments)

7. Budget…(Annual budgets also need to be developed and submitted)

8. Scheduling/Calendar…See the church or organization master calendar

9. Evaluation/accountability mechanisms

  • Monthly Board of Elders [Annual board retreat]
  • Monthly Council of Financial Review
  • Monthly Ministry Management Team
  • Monthly Outreach, Worship and Arts, and Pastoral Care Team meetings
  • Weekly staff meeting
  • Annual Pastor Care Team and Ministry Management Team retreats
  • Congregational annual vision Sunday: First Sunday evening in February

10. Celebrations…(See Master Event List):

  • Annual church-wide Christmas party
  • Annual Diamondbacks baseball game
  • Annual Luau
  • Annual Sweetheart’s Banquet (February 14th)
  • Annual church wide picnic
  • Annual Harvest Fair (October 31st)
  • Annual summer family camp