Searching for the Future (SFTF) is a weekend program of small group workshops designed to help a congregation clarify its vision and mission, and develop an initial set of goals and priorities that can jump-start a strategic plan. The process is tailored to the specific needs and starting point of each congregation, and often focuses on the physical and financial resources needed to support their mission and vision. It is especially helpful for framing requirements for major facility improvements or program expansion, initiatives typically supported by special or capital campaigns.
The magic of the process is that it takes place in one intensive weekend, in which as many congregants as possible participate in workshops facilitated by trained congregants. The workshops are lively, making the process of clarifying vision and mission not only painless, but actually fun. The energy and enthusiasm create a palpable “buzz” and build momentum for future steps.
The process includes a “train the trainer” component in which the consultant facilitates a session on Friday evening for congregants who then facilitate sessions on Saturday. This provides diverse benefits such as leadership development, congregation ownership of the process and results, leveraging of consultant resources, and enabling large numbers of congregants to participate in small groups all in one weekend.
- Develops a common vision of the future to serve as a focal point for strategic, financial, and building plans
- Creates momentum through the intensive weekend process
- Engages large numbers of congregants, promoting buy-in for major projects to follow
- Provides opportunities to identify and inspire emerging leaders
What We Offer:
Our consultants work with congregation leaders in advance to customize the process to ensure it reflects work that has already been done and desired outcomes. For example, if your congregation has recently developed an inspiring and effective mission statement, the SFTF process would be tailored to build on it rather than seeking to create a new one. And if a building program is a key desired outcome, the discussion of goals and priorities would focus on physical plant needs, while still ensuring a comprehensive look at how best to support mission and vision. Other preparatory work is helping recruit congregation members who will serve as facilitators.
During the weekend, the consultant facilitates the Friday evening session for the volunteer facilitators. This session has two purposes: it allows the facilitators to be participants and contribute their input; and it trains them to be facilitators for the rest of the congregation. Facilitators need not be congregation leaders, thus affording an opportunity to recruit newer members and develop new leaders. The consultant kicks off the Saturday program and then monitors the small groups to ensure they stay on schedule and on task. The consultant then convenes a final wrap-up session either Saturday evening or Sunday to consolidate and synthesize the results of the all of the small groups and create a consensus package for presentation to the congregation.
Your Stewardship For Us Team consultant is available to help recruit, convene, and orient a planning task force to take materials from this weekend and rapidly produce a clear and actionable set of goals, benchmarks, and quantifiable outcomes to serve as the basis for a strategic plan.