May 1, 2016

Introducing “Faith-Based: A Biblical, Practical Guide to Strategic Planning in the Church”

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I am excited to introduce Faith-Based, a book that encapsulates much of what I have learned in over ten years of helping to lead churches through a variety of planning processes, and fifteen years of helping to lead teams in the corporate sector. Faith-Based is a comprehensive guide to strategic planning in the church, and serves to assist and equip churches, pastors, and leaders to step more fully into the Great Commission.

While Faith-Based is available now from Amazon, in short order a six-session “guided journey” video series with accompanying Participant Workbook will also be available. These new tools, combined with the book, will enable leadership teams to work through a Faith-Based planning process. If you are considering purchasing books (and/or workbooks and the video series) for your leadership team, please contact me for a reduced rate on materials.

For RCA churches in the Great Lakes Region, I am able to facilitate up to three sessions with consistories, and coach the pastor as necessary to lead additional sessions. And as part of my role with the region, Faith-Based is offered free of charge. You can learn more about Faith-Based by going to

Here is a brief excerpt from Faith-Based:

Eight marks of “all in” leadership and staff teams

Everyone is praying.
I have yet to see positive results emerge from a season of planning when prayer wasn’t at the forefront.  Conversely, I have seen amazing success when there is a shared commitment among leaders and staff to be in prayer prior to, during, and after a strategic planning season.

Conversation is marked with grace and truth.
High functioning, fully committed teams emulate Christ by embracing both grace and truth. This allows for hard but necessary discussion to take place without tearing the team apart.  Honesty and transparency are essential, but so too is unconditional grace.

There is an earnest desire to grow and improve.
Effective planning requires that we hold a sort of mirror up to assess where we are at so that we can better understand where God is leading us, and how we might get there.  Self-assessment, both personally and corporately, is painful but necessary.  The antidote to complacency is to earnestly desire to grow and improve, understanding the past and present while working toward a better future.

Collaboration is the order of the day.
There is no single person who can effectively plan on behalf of an organization. Leadership is needed to be sure, but good leadership is not so much about “doing” as it is about empowering, equipping, and encouraging others to contribute.  Collaboration is vital for excelling in formulating and executing plans.

Accountability is understood and embraced.
I have seen planning efforts fizzle as deadlines come and go with seemingly no one noticing.  If leadership accountability is lacking, success in planning will be limited at best.

There is genuine excitement around the mission and vision of the church.
While gaining widespread agreement on every plan element is both unlikely and unnecessary, it is necessary to have leaders who display genuine passion and enthusiasm for the mission and vision of the church.

There is a willingness to stop ministries, programs, or events that have run their course.
In my experience, stopping ministries, programs, or events is much harder than adding ministries, programs, or events.  Our common tendency is to add rather than subtract, but the problem is that most churches are already stretched too far. As a general rule, I advise churches and leaders that any ministries or programs they add be offset with ministries or programs that are stopped. Because the guideline is difficult to accept, I introduce it at the onset of the planning process and reinforce it throughout.

Change is expected and embraced.
Let’s face it: change is inevitable.  The world is constantly changing, and so must we. What worked twenty years ago, or ten years ago, or even last year, might not work this year.  Our choice is to change or slowly die. How we view change will largely dictate whether or not we are willing to change, and more to the point, whether we will embrace change as a gift, or reject change as a hindrance.

  • Breaking Church Addictions

    Believe it or not, church addictions are fairly common. They are probably more common than we would like to admit. GO HERE.

  • Burnout or Breakout

    How can church leaders be effective without sacrificing their marriage, their family, or their health in the process? How can good leaders get stuck churches unstuck without becoming another casualty? GO HERE.

  • Faith Based

    A Biblical, Practical Guide to Strategic Planning in the Church . GO HERE.