When a congregation has long-term goals, it should also have a plan to reach them. This is a strategic plan. These days, long term can mean just two or three years out. Some of our members have expressed certain goals that may be important to our congregation. Our synod’s counselor for missions and evangelism has introduced us to a standard process that he has used with congregation that wish to make such plans and carry them out. We will describe this process so that our church’s members can see how they may participate and what the process is designed to accomplish.
The first steps of a strategic planning process are some studies that the congregation may do together. The purpose is to have a united understanding of our mission and purpose and a clear view of our community, our challenges, and our strengths. The point is for the members of the congregation to have these discussions together, rather than for one person or a handful of people to think it through without the involvement of others. To accomplish that, we would need to meet with as much participation as possible.
- We would focus on having a unified vision of where the members of the church would like the congregation to be in 2-3 years. This is an open-ended brainstorming discussion.
- We would focus next on understanding our God-given mission as a congregation and individual Christians.
- We would then seek to measure the strengths of our congregation by each filling out a survey about it.
- Once we understand our congregation well, we would try to understand the community where we are situated as it exists today. This includes trends in population, economy, and religion. To help with this, Pastor Wentzlaff can obtain a report of demographic data in any radius around the church. We have one generated in May, 2021 that extends 5 miles from Lakewood Lutheran Church. If you would like an electronic copy, contact Pastor Jacobsen by email or text.
- With church and community information in hand, we will then be in a position to identify strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of Lakewood Lutheran Church and have high confidence in our SWOT analysis.
- Finally, with this clear and complete picture of our situation, we would have a strategic planning session where we make realistic goals and identify our actions to reach them so that eventually, the 2-3 year vision may with God’s blessing come to fruition.
It has been said that Lakewood Lutheran Church is in a critical time, and we need to act wisely to continue the Lord’s work in Lakewood. More specific goals have also been mentioned, like having a full-time pastor who can dedicate more than a minimal amount of time toward the well-being of our Lord’s ministry here. Our school has been greatly blessed, but continues to operate with compromises in areas like facilities and staffing. Lakewood Lutheran Church has a responsibility not only to operate its school, but to help it thrive. With goals like these, it seems that developing and following a unified strategy would be wise. Will you be willing to help with this process?