Strategic Planning Team

Description of the Planning Process

Spring 2012: A few of our church officers began to sense that it was time to develop a new strategic plan for the church. The last plan was completed in 2004, one year before Pastor Davis came to Central Presbyterian Church (CPC).  To start this project, Lant Davis, Murray Pate and Renee Newton contacted Marie Fleming, a resource consultant for the Center for Congregations, which is an organization that provides resource grants to Indiana congregations. Fleming helps Indiana congregations with their development, evaluation and strategic planning. These resource grants provide one half the cost of the resource needed.

May 2013: While contacting the Center for Congregations, they also asked the Session to apply for a grant that would focus on a few missions at the heart of the congregation’s identity. The session authorized Renee, Murray, and Lant to interview possible strategic planning consultants and to draft a grant proposal to be submitted to the Center for Congregations.

July 2013: After the interviews were conducted, Reverend Sarai Rice was nominated and was approved by the Session as Central’s planning consultant, contingent on the church receiving a resource grant from the Center for Congregations.  The grant proposal was submitted, and a $6,151.50 grant was awarded by the Center for Congregations to the church.  Thereupon, the church entered into a contract for the services of Rev. Rice.

February 2014:  Sarai Rice made her initial visit to Central on the weekend of February 15-16.  She made a church-wide presentation on Saturday morning, and followed that up with interviews with the staff and some of the church officers.  She also attended worship at Central on Sunday.  At the Officers’ Retreat the next weekend, nominations were taken for persons to serve as members of the Strategic Planning Team.  The persons who had received the most nominations, plus a couple of other persons who made the team more representative, were invited by the Session to serve on the planning team.

April 2014: Rice came again to CPC  to train the members of the Strategic Planning Team and to develop a plan for how the team would go about its work.

Summer 2014:  The plan for the summer of 2014 was to develop a planning strategy that would implement questionnaires, meetings, and an online survey in September of 2014. These would encourage the congregation to identify its strengths and particular gifts for ministry.  Keeping the congregation informed about each step in the process was understood to be very important in the development of any strategic plan.

Fall 2014:  Once the Strategic Planning Team has surveyed the congregation in several different ways, Sarai Rice will return to Terre Haute for a meeting with the team.  Together they will analyze the information provided by the congregation and will consider, as well, the needs of the community.  Then they will develop a strategic plan, which will be reported to the Session for adoption or amendment, as the Session may decide. The strategic plan will be accompanied by Rev. Rice’s analysis of how many, and what kind of, church employees or volunteers will be needed to carry out the strategic plan.

Future Steps: The final step of the team is to recommend a governance structure at the Session level (perhaps a dedicated committee) that would continually evaluate and assess the process and progress of the strategic plan. The team wants to institute a culture of planning at Central, in order that planning and assessment will be continuous each year, with the expectation that the strategic plan would be adjusted each year to continue, modify, or adjust particular goals as the church experiences successes and challenges of working with the strategic plan.  Thus, every year the Session will discuss its progress with goals, whether goals should change and declare the goals complete and/or move forward to the next goal.  Since each year goals will be projected out for another year, the original five-year strategic plan, as adjusted and extended, always retains its forward horizon of five years in the future.  In a culture of planning, the plan itself is a living document that is used to guide day-to-day decisions in the church.  The Planning Team hopes that this will eliminate the possibility that the plan, once developed, would be put on the shelf and thought about only infrequently until the time comes for another major planning effort.  In the future, planning should not have to be “jump-started” because it will never stop.

To see the full grant application, click CPC Resource Grant Application.

To see Sarai Rice’s contract, click Rice Contract.

To see Sarai Rice’s report, click Rice Report.

To see the Task Force summary and its recommendation, click Task Force Summary.