It is very common for congregations to grind to a halt in one way or another because of inability to come to agreement on tough issues. Groups of people gather around a particular stance based on the values and interests they hold dear. But there are other groups who hold conflicting opinions. The common idea is that “someone must be wrong” and “my side must win at all cost.” This kind of positioning is nearly always damaging to the church and to the cause around which they are gathered. When facing such an impasse – mediation is a superior alternative. The mediation process frees people to move away from holding stubbornly onto old positions in order to consider new paradigms and discover together alternative solutions that are workable for all parties.
This communication practice being utilized across the country to resolve conflict in neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces can also be very effective in congregations. The circle process hinges on storytelling and employs concepts of democracy and inclusivity. The process is very effective for team-building and staff renewal, for providing support for an individual or family, to develop new programs, or handling deeply entrenched differences of opinion. It is also very effective in resolving the interpersonal and inter-group conflicts common in churches and other faith-based organizations.
Visioning & Strategic Planning for Churches
People working with Jeff Dorman quickly realize that he is internally wired for visioning and strategic planning long before it was confirmed by the Clifton StrengthsFinder as one of his top gifts. Far more important than the strategic plan document, is the strategic planning process itself.
Strategic planning serves a variety of purposes in churches:
- Clearly define the vision, mission, values, and purpose of the church.
- Establish realistic goals and objectives consistent with that mission – within a defined time frame and within the church’s capacity for implementation.
- Communicate those goals and objectives to the church’s constituents.
- Develop a sense of ownership of the plan.
- Ensure the most effective use is made of the church’s resources by focusing the resources on the key priorities.
- Provide a base from which progress can be measured and establish a mechanism for informed change when needed.
- Listen to everyone’s opinions in order to build consensus about where the church is going.
Strategic planning provides additional benefits to churches:
- Provides clearer focus for the church, thereby producing more efficiency and effectiveness.
- Builds connections between the 1) staff/employees, 2) councils/boards, and 3) volunteers/members.
- Promotes teamwork and collaboration across the church.
- Provides direction and motivation toward an agreed upon positive future.
- Produces great satisfaction and meaning among planners, especially around a common vision.
- Increases productivity from increased efficiency and effectiveness.
- Solves major problems in the church.
Goal Setting: The SQECR Factor
Thousands of nonprofit service organizations and congregations across the land are operated by a few overworked staff members and some well-meaning-but-often-ineffective committees. All too often the greatest concern of the committee is “what did we do last year, and how do we do it again?” No wonder the majority of these groups are in decline.
When every staff member and committee sets goals and accomplishes incremental positive improvement every year – the result can be huge steps forward for the church. Let Dr. Dorman motivate your leadership to set goals in the following areas: Spirituality, Quality, Expansion, Creativity, and Relevance – the SQECR factor! (pronounced squeaker)
The Pastor’s Coach
Often the only one in town lonelier than the Maytag repairman, is the local pastor. They carry tremendous responsibility, endure much criticism, are expected meet the needs of others at all times and places, and are responsible for the success of the ministry. I believe that all pastors benefit by having someone in their corner – a confidential person outside the system who will provide wisdom, support, encouragement, and accountability. There is a tremendous benefit to knowing that someone is committed to your success.
Church Consulting Qualifications
Rev. Jeffrey Dorman’s doctoral studies integrated psychological, theological, and sociological factors that make for individual, family, and congregational health. In addition, he completed a Mini-MBA for non-profits at the University of Saint Thomas. His qualifications stem from this education complimented by the wisdom of thirty years experience working in education and congregations as well as serving in key volunteer roles in a number of service organizations. Pastor Dorman has served various sized congregations — ranging from 125 to over 3,000 in worship attendance. He understands that every setting has its strengths and weaknesses. His expertise can help your congregation take key steps down the path of accomplishment, growth, health, faithfulness, and success.