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Do churches have business plans?

When a company first starts it’s very typical for them to put together a business plan. In fact, if they plan to find investors, get a loan from a bank, buy a building, etc. they’ll typically be asked for their business plan. Our VP of Business Development has an MBA from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and has expertise in entrepreneurship and business development. We work with professional consultants regarding the E-Myth practices and the importance of process development. All of these people say that it is of utmost importance to have a plan for your business and to continually review and modify it.

Now, I’m certainly not saying we’ve got it all figured out, but there is something to be said for the importance of a business plan when banks, investors, high level executives with big fancy titles and tons of education, etc. place such a high emphasis on this one document.

The question is, how is a church any different from a business? I know, I know, there is certainly a different spiritual aspect, but from strictly a marketing, financial, operations, HR, perspective, churches operate just like every other business does. So, why WOULDN’T a church have a business plan?

Here are some questions that a business plan helps answer…

  1. The mission of your church
  2. The ministries you plan to launch – When, why?
  3. Market analysis – Who is your target attender, what do they want or need, what will get them in the door, what are other churches in the area doing, where do you fit?
  4. Operations – How will you deliver those ministries? How many volunteers do you need, how much space do you need, what equipment do you need?
  5. Marketing plan – How will you market your church? Geographic and demographic data.
  6. Financial plan – How much will all this cost and how are you going to pay for it? How are you going to raise the money?
  7. Business Strategy – Pull it all together and put it into action.


We’re not saying that this is the end all / cure all, but this could greatly help grow your organization by narrowing your focus! We do a lot of work with North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, Ga) and some of their “7 Practices of Effective Ministry” encourage this type planning…

  1. Define what is important at every level of the organization.
  2. Before you start anything, make sure it takes you where you need to go.
  3. Narrow the focus.
  4. Teach Less for More.
  5. Do fewer things in order to make a greater impact.
  6. Focus on who you’re trying to reach.
  7. Take time to evaluate your work.

By the way, we would love to help you out with this, if we could… Just ask!


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