Congregational Planning: For Organization, Transformation, Motivation, and Repentance, Rev. Jon Hein
If someone were to ask to see your congregation’s plans, what would you all give him? For many churches, the plans are nothing more than a budget and calendar for the year. How was that “plan” produced? Often it is simply a matter of taking last year’s budget and calendar and changing a few numbers and dates.
If someone were to ask your congregation’s leaders, “What is the reason you plan?” what would be the answer? For many, it would come down to operational efficiency. You plan out the coming year so events are done on time and on budget.
If what is above sounds like your congregation, your church is missing out on the biggest benefits of planning. Yes, we plan so that our ministry is organized. Scripture encourages ministry to be done “in a fitting and orderly way” (1 Corinthians 14:40). However, that is only one aim in planning. In this session, we will look at others:
- Transformation. Strategic planning sets goals that attempt to transform the congregation, moving it from the current reality to an optimistic desired future. Those long-range goals are broken into short-term objectives that make the annual ministry plan about so much more than operational efficiency.
- Motivation. Does your congregation struggle with volunteerism? Might part of the reason be that the members do not see the congregation attempting anything they find inspiring? A well-articulated mission and vision for how your congregation hopes to affect your community with the gospel can be extremely helpful in motivating members to make sacrifices of time and offerings.
- Motivation. The Christian retains a sinful nature. The Old Adam is selfish and apathetic. When congregational leaders notice that a congregation’s ministry had become selfishly focused entirely on members, yet apathetic to the eternal needs of the unbelievers in the community, they repent. They use congregational planning as a way to produce appropriate fruits of repentance.
If you want your congregation’s planning efforts to achieve something more than operational efficiency, this is a good presentation for you.
Rev. Jon Hein
Upon graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1997, Pastor Hein was assigned to serve a mission start in the Summerville, S.C., area. Over the course of twenty years, the little group of thirteen souls grew to a grew into two congregations with hundreds of members and a long-range plan to daughter at least three more churches in the greater Charleston area.
While serving as a parish pastor, Jonathan served on the District Mission Board. Eventually he served as chairman and one of the members of the Board for Home Mission’s Executive Committee. In that capacity, he oversaw the planting of fourteen congregations in the South Atlantic District.
In 2014, Jonathan was called to serve as the in-parish director of WELS Commission on Congregational Counseling. In that capacity, he has overseen consultation with over 200 congregations. In 2017, the Conference of Presidents called him to that work full-time. He transitioned to WELS Center for Mission and Ministry, where he also assumed the position of coordinator for WELS Congregational Services, consisting of six commissions: Congregational Counseling, Evangelism, Discipleship, Lutheran Schools, Special Ministries, and Worship.
Jonathan has served as an essayist for the 2008 WLS Symposium on the Church (“The Church and Her Members”), the 2011 Institute for Worship and Outreach gathering (“Treasures in Jars of Clay”), the 2014 National Conference on Worship, Music and the Arts (“Compelling Worship”), the 2018 WLS Symposium on the Pastor as Shepherd-Leader (“The Shepherd Leader at Work: Moving Forward”), the 2019 WELS synod convention (“For the Generations to Come”). He has given numerous other presentations at various district and conference gatherings.
Jonathan and his wife, Rebecca, have two children: Caleb (21) and Joshua (19). They reside in Waukesha, Wis., where they attend Trinity Lutheran Church. Jonathan enjoys reading, cooking, and golfing.