Strategic Planning Frequently Asked Questions
September 4, 2008
The Strategic Planning Process
How long is this process?
The process was authorized in February 2008. Post planning work actually began in August 2008 and will continue until September 2009.
What is the purpose for conducting Strategic Planning and how will it help FPC?
In an organization this size there is always going to be a need to analyze and understand the operations, mechanisms, systems, and people that facilitate the work of the church, and part of our goal in this strategic thinking is to better understand who we are and how we go about fulfilling the charge of Christ given to His church. We want to understand and chronicle the things we are doing, how well we are doing them, and explore ways we could better do them. Sometimes, there is the tendency to get excited about a particular ministry (the one where you serve), and in that enthusiasm, lose site of how a particular piece fits into the whole. So, this is a time to look at the entire church to see where we have been, where we are, and the direction we think God is calling us to pursue. From small group Bible studies to our foreign missions program, all of the discrete activities and ministries of the church need to be self-consciously pursuing the global vision of First Presbyterian Church. We also want to think strategically about how First Presbyterian Church can be a blessing to our city, state, denomination, and world. And we want to hear from our members on a variety of issues.
Why did the session decide to start this process now?
In the early 1990s, First Presbyterian Church underwent a formal strategic planning process under the direction of Don McNair. Of the specific goals addressed in that plan, nearly all have been accomplished (by the way, it was this plan that called for a new sanctuary to be built to better facilitate the needs of the congregation!). Lots of things have changed in the intervening two decades, and the elders thought it wise to spend some time thinking and planning for the future.
What is the role of the consultant/facilitator in this process?
Part of our process involves the use of a facilitator, and the Lord led us to Brian Esterly, a ruling elder from our sister congregation, Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, PA. Tenth underwent a formal strategic planning process a couple of years ago, and Brian and another member at Tenth were at the helm of that effort. We are greatly benefiting from Brianís experience. However, his role is that of helper and encourager. He brings specific qualifications and expertise to our planning process, but it is the leadership of First Presbyterian Church that will articulate and execute the plans and programs of the church.
Who is involved in the decision making and planning?
Over the course of the next several months, the plan calls for a series of surveys to be distributed to a variety of people and groups. The entire congregation will be asked to participate in a Membership Survey. The elders, deacons, and staff will be polled, as will certain ministry leaders and participants. In this way, the entire congregation will be part of the planning process. But in this, as in every area, we believe that God has called our elders to provide leadership for this congregation, and we will look to them to lead and guide us through the strategic planning process.
Who should I contact if I have concerns, questions, or suggestions?
Our Strategic Planning Project Manager, Lauren Smith, was hired in July as a part-time, temporary facilitator of this process. If you have concerns, questions,
or suggestions you can contact her via email or phone, and she will be happy to assist you.
Ms. Lauren Smith
FPC extension: 228
(601) 973-9128 (office)
The Membership Survey
Will the Membership Survey for the congregation be confidential?
Yes. We are taking confidentiality very seriously. You will not be asked to provide your name. Select demographic questions will ask for your sex, years
at FPC, marital status, and such, but these questions are for analysis purposes only and will not be used to identify individuals. In addition, your completed survey
will be returned in closed envelopes and sent to an outside data processing company. FPC will receive an electronic summary of all respondentsí answers
and the original surveys will be purged.
On the membership survey, if I don't have an answer or don't want to answer a question, will that throw out my whole questionnaire?
Your survey will be processed for the questions that you answer. So, if you leave one or two questions blank, your other questions will still be counted.
However, we ask that you do not leave answers blank, if possible, as it may skew our results.