The Value of Strategic Planning2 min read

As a young person, I can remember conversations between my dad and grandpa about the farm. They would often center on planning. Not just for the day, although that certainly was important, but more regarding the big picture: what would be planted in which fields the next year, when we’d buy, when we’d sell, how many hogs or cattle we would have … the conversa­tions would flow. What I didn’t know at the time, although they never called it this, was that these men were engaged in strategic planning.

As I travel around and visit with folks in rural and small town congregations, I am often met with skepticism when it comes to the idea of strategic planning. While it might be fine to plan ahead for home or work, why would we do that for the church? That’s God’s work, right?

Well, indeed it is, and we want noth­ing else than to conform to God’s will. However, just as it was for those two farm­ers I grew up with, having a plan is a good thing. In fact, I would say that we are not being the best stewards we can be if we don’t engage in at least a minimal amount of strategic planning. As Luther says in his Small Catechism explanation to the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed, God gives us “our reason and all our senses.” It is indeed then, good, right and salutary to use these good gifts in service to our vari­ous ministries.

We improve our stewardship of those resources God grants to us when we focus our attention on what it is that God has equipped and called us to do. We waste a lot of effort and precious resourc­es when we leave our work to chance or take a haphazard, helter-skelter ap­proach. Yet when we engage in strategic planning, we are able to focus our atten­tion on what is truly important. We can allocate resources to those endeavors that are in line with what we perceive God has enabled us to accomplish. Strategic planning doesn’t just allow us to best use resources but also equips us to most efficiently utilize the time and talents of our members as they serve His church. When there is a plan and a method and people are educated on expectations and requirements, they are far more apt to agree to serve and will likely do a far better job.

Certainly strategic planning isn’t to be held in priority over worship, prayer and study of God’s Word, but when it is seen in the proper light of ministerially serving the Gospel, it is then of immense value to the church.

Photo (c) bravo1954/iStock

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About the Author

Rev. Todd Kollbaum is the director of LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission. RSTM supports and encourages rural and small town congregations in engaging their communities and growing together in Christ through Word and Sacrament. Learn more at or

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