Does the itinerant system in the United Methodist Church work against strategic planning?
I want to be an excellent strategic planner and have been thinking more about how this works in the United Methodist Church. I suggest that it is important to look at a strategic plan for several years into the future. I recognize that a plan will include specific goals for each year, but there needs to be a long range overall mission and vision that directs these goals.
Here are my assumptions:
- The average United Methodist pastor will be in an appointment five years.
- The pastor will most likely initiate and lead a strategic planning process for a congregation.
- When a new pastor arrives she or he may seek to reformulate the direction of the congregation.
With these assumptions longer term strategic plannign does not seem to be likely for an average United Methodist congregation.
I believe that this is not necessarily the case. The laity in the congregation could lead and own the process and live it out in a way that would be compelling and effective. This would make it easy for another pastor to step into and continue the direction. Also, I believe that there is an important place for pastors to enter a congregation with humility in response to the congregation and the former leader; to seek to listen more than direct in first interactions in a new congregation.
What do you think? Are my assumptions fair? What about conclusions? What has your experience been in this area?