“Repeat Last Year” Church Planning Model©

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“Repeat Last Year” Church Planning Model©


Can you understand how churches find themselves striving to not lose membership when the power of God is available to church leaders and members? With God’s power available for use by all church members and church leaders, why are so many churches not growing like a teenage boy?

What name should be given to a typical local church’s yearly planning model? It is possible that the name could be “Repeat Last Year.” Does this name sound spiritual and put faith in God’s leadership? I guess God can be satisfied with the results of last year’s activities so He will agree with the idea of repeating last year’s goals and plans. This name for the planning model name is not used by churches, but it is a description of many churches’ actual planning concepts.

Maybe a more official sounding name could be the Zero-Based Church Growth (ZBCG) model. This name is depressing to me. The ZBCG model does make it easier to plan the church budget and use the church facilities when the church is growing at 0 percent per year. Does the ZBCG model mean that gaining church membership is not a sign of success?

I have wondered if there is a religion-based foundation that sponsors a competition that makes a cash donation to a church that had a “best practice” plan for supporting the status quo. I have been waiting for the foundation to step forward and offer prize money so churches will have the motivation to create the written report explaining how they achieve the benefit of a status quo growth church.

I have been trying to understand why the unofficial Repeat Last Year planning model for status quo planning is so popular. I do not think it is a Bible based planning concept. Moses, Gideon, David, Paul, and Jesus did not settle for status quo planning. I do not think Judas’ planning to betray Jesus did not include the status quo.

From what I understand of project management concepts, the goals or the mission statement of the church should have an impact on the church’s future planning. Staying with supporting the status quo does eliminate the need for a church mission statement. I do admit that using last year’s goals do save planing time.

A radical thinking church leader may think the church leadership can use last year’s goals and planned activities for positive church growth. Take last year’s goals and evaluate them to understand why which goals’ tasks worked and did not work. Be sure to make the appropriate changes to last year’s goals and tasks in order to solve their deficiencies. You now have next year’s goals and tasks you can present to the church membership.

This approach to planning seems to be a valid use of last year’s results. This approach does alter last year’s plan. There may be a need to change the membership’s attitude by having them vote to actively support and participate in church growth activities. Some church members may decide to leave the church because they just cannot take the pressure of striving to achieve new goals. They may believe in the Zero-Based Church Growth (ZBCG) model planning concepts. To further emphasize the changes, you may want to print the new goals on bright colored paper and send a copy to each member by registered mail.


Dale “The Saint” Lee

A former resident of Pot Neck, Tennessee

Date last changed, August 15, 2010

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