Youth ministry, student ministry, youth group, youth pastor, adult volunteers

The 4 Step Process of Strategic Planning

By Doug Franklin August 6, 2017

Planning is the secret art of leadership.  Most youth ministry teams do not fail for lack of desire or inadequate resources.  They fail because they do not plan effectively.  It is tempting for a leader to rely on their talents and just “wing it”.  This is dangerous.  Teams need leaders who understand the value and process of creating a successful plan.

“It is tempting for a leader to rely on their talents and just ‘wing it’, but this is dangerous.”

The value of strategic planning

Leaders understand the value of a plan.  They know that the more effort they put into planning, the better their chances of success.   Youth Ministry leaders who don’t value planning have teams who don’t value planning.  The odds of failing are higher for those teams.

Adult volunteers respond positively to a leader with a plan.  Leaders with a well thought out plan gain the confidence and trust of their followers.  Such leaders are easy to follow.   But the leader must also be the champion of the plan.  They have to clearly communicate the value of the plan, as well as anticipate obstacles they cannot see.  They must consider, “What are the most likely pitfalls we will face?”

The process of strategic planning

The process of strategic planning can be intimidating.  Often there is a fear of not knowing enough to be able to create an effective plan.  Let’s examine the four stages of strategic planning to gain a better understanding of how planning actually works.

1. Determine the scope and goals of the project.

One of the greatest challenges of being a leader is seeing the future.  Leaders must be able to set the boundaries of a project and determine the goals to ensure that the project will be completed with excellence.  The plan must include the Big Picture and the Goals, the things you need to do to get to the big picture.

2. Calculate the resources needed.

Leaders must put the right people in the right positions in order for a team to perform at maximum potential.  Leaders must also provide the resources to complete the project whether that includes money, materials, or other necessities. Not only do you need to calculate the resources, you have and need but how to best use them. For example, people are a resource. After you figure out how many people you will need to accomplish your task, you need to figure out how to best use the gifts and abilities those people have.

3. Execute the plan.

A plan is meaningless if a leader does not motivate the team to actually implement it.  Executing the plan takes discipline and effort, but it is the only way to see the team reach their goals.  Execute means enacting the agreed upon plan without being side tracked.

4. Evaluate the progress. 

Leaders need to ask, “How can we do this better?”  Consistent, honest evaluation is the leader’s tool to bring about growth in followers and to ensure excellence in all that his or her team does.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More