September 8th, 2012

Vision Planning vs. Long Range Planning

FBC PrattvilleVision Planning vs. Long Range Planning

Travis Coleman has been the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Prattville, AL since 1989. During his time as leader the church has experienced consistent growth year after year, they have engaged in many building projects, and multiple long range plans. The formula for growth remained consistent making ministry appear to be a rather simple task.  Then things changed.  The church hit a plateau, then a slight decline. Younger churches were starting around them and doing quite well.  The growth of their city shifted and the church debt appeared to be an obstacle they had to conquer. 

Travis knew as a leader he must see the future differently and lead with a clear purpose. He had been through many long range planning processes in the past, but this time he needed vision.  We embarked together with his staff and leadership to discover God’s unique calling for their future. The debt is now retired, the staff is re-organized, the church is energized, and the congregation is passionately moving ahead together. I asked Travis to share some personal insights from his experience with a vision process vs. a traditional long range planning process. I hope you will find them helpful.

  • Vision planning helps you to discover the specific strengths and personality of your ministerial staff, church, and community. It is not a “one size fits all” approach.
  • Emphasis is not on discovering weaknesses and then set goals to improve in these areas. Rather, vision planning acknowledges there are weaknesses, but focus is placed on strengths in recognition of uniqueness. A church should play to its strengths/uniqueness.
  • Vision planning leads a church to spend an extraordinary amount of time on building a Vision Frame (vision casting) that creates a church culture where everyone can easily understand what the church is to do, where it is to go, how will it get there, and to know when it has arrived.
  • It leads churches to celebrate milestones when a goal has been reached.
  • It helps a church to coordinate its budget, programs, ministries, missions, etc. around the Vision Frame.
  • It reinforces the necessity of visual aids to communicate the Vision Frame to the church. This is a tremendous help in communicating the Vision Frame where it can be understood.

Vision, leadership, and spiritual character are three components church leaders can not do without. Vision is not something that is set in stone, put on a wall, and memorized. Rather it is alive within the leadership providing vitality to the congregation. It is a treasure to be highly pursued.

Comments are closed.