We are quickly approaching the end of 2018. I hope you have already begun thinking about 2019 and what you would like to accomplish. I have definitely been doing some thinking and dreaming about the new year. There is always potential when the new year rolls around and such an exciting time. So many questions with limitless possibilities.
What does God want to do in my ministry?
How can I honor my family more?
Where do we want to go on vacation?
What are new goals I need to set to make these things happen?
That’s where MAP comes in. MAP stands for Ministry Action Plan. It’s a simple tool to help you set new ministry goals for the year and a pathway to achieve them. If you struggle seeing the entire year at a glance, or if you are simply behind in your planning, this tool will definitely help you create a path and stick with it.
I’m going to share the process I used for my 2019 MAP and how I used it to align my team around our campus goals for the year.
What MAP is Not!
The MAP is a tool to give you clarity on a pathway. It is not bogged down in details. It’s sort of like a dream board for the year. As I approached 2019, I simply focused on over-arching principles and high level vision for the new year.
For instance, one of our primary things throughout the year will be to strengthen and clarify our teams. We want simple and clear connection points. We want to have better training and equipping for the roles needed. So we are going to focus a lot of our efforts on widening the volunteer base and increasing connection opportunities.
So MAP lays out the pathway, but is not detail heavy. It lays out the high level elements that need to happen in order to reach your goals for the year. As your teams set new goals, they can meet to discuss details of how to achieve those specific elements later.
MAP Begins with SWOT!
You have probably heard of a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). It’s a great way to get a picture of reality about how things are actually going in your ministry. Each staff person at my campus completes a SWOT analysis of their area and we combine them to get a clear picture of our reality.
What was good in the previous year?
Where did we fail?
What needs to be improved?
What opportunities exist?
What should we stop doing?
These questions give us clarity.
Our final SWOT was two columns over two full pages. Dozens and dozens of areas identified in each category. Everything from when you pull into our parking lot, to when you sip your coffee to when you walk back out the door at the end of the service. Everything goes under the microscope each year.
This is a long process but unbelievably beneficial. If you don’t have a clear picture of your current reality, it doesn’t matter what direction you aim in the new year, you won’t arrive at the destination. If I am trying to get to Kansas City, Missouri from Washington, DC but I look up directions on how to get there from Los Angeles, I’m going to be very confused and frustrated. Even if my intentions for the new year are good, I can’t get to where I want to be without a clear picture of my current reality.
Always start with SWOT!
Begin with the End in Mind!
I sat my team down recently and wrote on a whiteboard: “Quarter 1, Quarter 2, Quarter 3, Quarter 4.” I then said, “If your team is firing on all cylinders in 2019, what will it look like in December of 2019?” We were able to dream a bit and to begin with the end in mind.
These are just dreams and goals at this point. They may or may not become reality, but if you aren’t clear on them they definitely will never be a reality. One of mine was to triple our volunteer base. That goes back directly to what I said above about the focus of 2019 in our organizational strategy.
If we absolutely do everything with perfect excellence in 2019, we should with some accuracy be able to say that we will triple our volunteer base based on our efforts throughout the year. If your ministry absolutely crushes it this year, firing on all cylinders with Apple-like excellence, what will you see in December 2019?
In order for those dreams at the end of 2019 to become a reality, what do we need to do in each quarter throughout the year? I wrote down smaller goals for each quarter. For instance; at the end of quarter one, we will have new team leads in place, new training and a quarterly event to connect new people. Then we repeat for the other three quarters throughout the year. It’s gives simple clarity to what needs to happen during the year.
Again, the MAP isn’t the place to break down every event and start planning in detail Easter services or Fall outreach events. The MAP is there to simply say, this is our dream for the year. This is what we need to do in each quarter to get there. Easter and Fall events will probably be on your MAP, but you aren’t taking time to plan them right this second.
Once I had put my thoughts down for each quarter, this is when I got my team involved. I asked them, “In order for us to achieve these things as a campus, what do you need to start or stop doing in 2019? What can you do in your ministry area to help point toward these goals?”
That’s when I gave everyone some post-it notes. Each jotted down a few things throughout the year we each wanted to do to contribute to the vision. And again, these are high level ideas, we didn’t dive into every single thing in this meeting. We were simply getting a sense of the overall year and where we were headed.
Then we added those post-it notes to each quarter on the white board. This gave us a glimpse of our entire year and how each team would be contributing toward the overall goals of the campus. There were less things in quarters 3 and 4 because that far out is a little fuzzier to see. That’s natural and okay. But our first and second quarters are pretty clear about what we want to accomplish.
MAP is a great tool to help you accomplish your ministry goals. You are able to cover SWOT, priorities, goals and a quarterly breakdown with MAP.
To get started, I’m including a blank template of the MAP we use at New Life. Feel free to customize it to your setting and context.
What tools do you use to prioritize your year?
Would you add anything to the MAP process?