In the post, “Organizational Alignment and Integration – Why Most Strategic Plans Fail,” we examined the ten components of aligning and integrating a strategic plan into the culture of the church. Once your strategic plan has been developed an additional task essential to execution is to assess each existing ministry initiative for alignment to your strategic plan.
If a ministry initiative does not align to the strategic plan you have one of four choices, Adapt It, Merge It, Marginalize It, Eliminate It.
Four Alternatives to Strategic Plan Misalignment
Adapt It: The first alternative to consider is adapting or modifying the ministry initiative where it contributes to and supports the strategic plan. Here you add and/or subtract elements of the ministry initiative to bring it into alignment.
For example, an annual special event that lacks an intentional strategy for inviting, involving and following up on the unchurched could add these elements and be brought into alignment with a strategic plan that has increased engagement with the unchurched as an objective.
Merge It: The second alternative to consider is merging or melding a ministry initiative that does not align with the strategic plan with one that does. Here you combine ministry initiatives to make both more strategic.
For example, if your strategic plan has an objective to align all bible studies with your small group strategy, independent women’s and men’s bible studies could be brought under the small groups ministry where the small group structure and strategy can be incorporated into their studies.
Marginalize It: The third alternative to consider is to marginalize or minimize the ministry initiative. Some ministry initiatives are not candidates for adapting or merging but may be deemed unwise to eliminate for unity or other church health reasons. The best solution is to minimize its resourcing and promotion and allow it to exist, but in isolation. In these situations the goal is to not allow the misaligned initiative to be a drain on resources or a demand on communication channels.
For example, your strategic plan calls for all small groups to teach sermon based curriculum, yet one elderly small group resists changing from their long standing curriculum preference. Here the better part of wisdom is to not require compliance, but not promote or encourage its growth and let the class die a natural death.
Eliminate It: The final alternative to consider is to eliminate or cut the ministry initiative that does not fit with the strategic plan. Here the ministry initiative cannot be aligned to the strategic plan and most likely has lost its effectiveness. Frequently such ministry initiatives no longer have critical mass or influential people emotionally and relationally tied to it. If they do, then such initiatives may be better candidates for marginalization rather than elimination. This often is a tough call but absolutely essential to the credibility and effectiveness of ministry initiative alignment with the strategic plan.
Asking the question, “Does this ministry initiative align with our strategic plan?” and rigorously applying these four solutions if it does not, will streamline your ministry offerings and ensure what you do offer is contributing to the strategic direction of the church.
Posted on October 25, 2016