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posted Mar 17, 2015, 11:06 AM by First Baptist

If you were at the Faith Sound concert last Sunday, you may recall that I introduced a gentleman named Israel Lang.


Mr. Lang is a church & business consultant from Indiana. He came to Harlan to meet with our leadership team (diaconate) and to lead us through a process called “StratOp,” which is short for Strategic Operations.


Normally, StatOp is a three-day process, but for us, Mr. Lang condensed it down to only two days. But they were two FULL days – from 8 AM to 5 PM both days.


The purpose of StratOp is to assist churches in strategic planning. “Strategic planning” is defined as the process of determining an organization’s long-term goals and then identifying the best approach for achieving those goals. Without strategic planning, a church will continue doing what it’s always done – with the same (or declining) results.


We began the process by reviewing the entire 58-year history of First Baptist. As part of that, we identified a number of “key moments” in the church’s history. We then reviewed our mission statement, which is to “bring people to Christ and to develop them to Christ-like maturity.”


Mr. Lang encouraged us to evaluate the church’s EXISTING ministry (and programs) in terms of how well we are achieving the mission, as opposed to how smoothly (or un-smoothly) the ministry is going (which is typically how we evaluate things).  We were challenged to keep the main thing the main thing.


We also spent considerable time investigating NEW opportunities for fulfilling what God has called us to do. We specifically identified “young families” as a potentially fruitful area of ministry for us and discussed various ways of reaching out to this demographic in Shelby County.


All in all, it was an incredible (and exhausting) two days. The “action plan” we ended up with has four parts to it, with each part assigned to an at-large deacon for further development.


I’m grateful for all the deacons who took part. Each of us had the opportunity to share our hopes & dreams for God’s work in our community. It was a blessing to hear what each had to say.


Pastor Dan