There are many different approaches and philosophies to planning. No matter which approach is used, planning is simply a means to an end. Planning helps define the actions for getting from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. No matter what planning approach you use, the basic steps include:
- Define a clear picture of a preferable future (what does opening day look like?) – Vision is all about painting a picture of a preferable future and then moving deliberately forward in pursuit of the vision. The preliminary launch plan starts with this end in mind: “We believe God’s vision for this church plant is to look like [fill in the blank] on opening day.” From this vision of what opening day looks like, the launch plan is customized with church specific actions.
- Understand where we are today – Before we can put a plan together for moving to where we want to be in the future, we must understand where we are today. This second step of planning leads us through the process of understanding where we are today. For church planters, the starting point is typically to create something from nothing. A big part of understanding where you are today is by going through a church planter assessment process.
- Plan of action for moving from where you are today to where you want to be – After developing a vision for the future and assessing where you are today, the final step in planning is to identify steps to get you where you want to be.
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Here are some examples of what your opening day might include:
- two worship services with children’s ministry during both services,
- at least two student ministry small groups,
- meeting in a school type facility that seats at least 300 people,
- opening day attendance of at least 300 people,
- at least 5 small groups ready to multiply to 10 by opening day to ensure at least 150 people can immediately be plugged into small groups,
- two worship bands, a setup/teardown team, etc.
The picture does not need to be perfect, only roughly right for what you sense God is leading your church to be. Consider the process of building a new house. The first step, before anything else, is to paint a description of the new house. What do you want the finished product to look like? Developing a clear picture of the new house influences nearly every aspect of turning the vision into reality. It affects the selection of a builder, of a lot, of how long it will take to construct, and of the cost. It is very difficult to devlop a plan without a clear vision of the product.
Note: This description of opening day is not the final product. The church will end up looking different than the first draft. This action simply gets you thinking through opening day and setting initial goals.
The Free download on the left, Define What Opening Day Look Like, is a worksheet designed to help you work through specific aspects of Sunday morning (e.g. style of music, signs, food, level of formality, type facility, number of services, etc.). The template identifies over 50 characteristics of a Sunday morning experience for the church planter to consider. This will enable the Church Planter to develop a written list of specific/concrete expectations for what the church will look like on opening day.