A nuts-and-bolts approach to developing your MAP
By Cara Garrity, Development Coordinator
It’s that time of year again – time for Ministry Action Plans (MAPs)!
What are MAPs?
A Ministry Action Plan is a “living document” that identifies specific ministry goal(s) and charts an intentional pathway to move from the current ministry conditions towards the stated goal(s).
MAPs are a tool for strategic Healthy Church planning. The process of developing a comprehensive MAP provides an opportunity to discern what God is doing in our midst and make intentional decisions about how our ministries will participate in the coming year. The level of clarity and intentionality that a MAP brings out of us helps create an order and harmony to our participation in Jesus’ ministry. When strategy is done in prayerful, discerning community – it is a powerful way to seek and sync with God’s will.
What does that look like practically?
We may take the opportunity to discern ways our ministries need to grow in Healthy Church rhythms, what our priorities are, what our opportunities and challengers are, what our greatest needs and assets are, where we may be choosing comfort over mission, etc.
Why put it in writing?
A written MAP supports alignment and integration of ministry Avenues for unified and synergetic Healthy Church growth. It creates clarity which builds trust. It is a sign of commitment to steward our leadership well.
What does it mean that a MAP is a “living document”?
We are not legally bound to our MAP; it is simply a guide to help us participate in Jesus’ present ministry. We are bound to Jesus. Discernment is an ongoing process. As we continue to observe, reflect, and pray about what we see God doing in our midst, refinement to our MAP is bound to happen.
If it is bound to change, why use a MAP at all?
Clarity is kind. When we re-route in response to discernment in community, we don’t want to go alone. Updating a MAP when circumstances change helps us continue to move forward towards Healthy Church in unity. Just like a geographical map, we use a MAP so that we all can make it safely to the target destination together.
As we define what a MAP is, it can be helpful to also define what it isn’t.
|Tool for strategic planning||To-do list or calendar of events|
|Intentionally growth-oriented||Passive description of ministry “as is”|
|Tool for alignment||Job description for ministry leaders|
|Tool for discernment, reflection, and assessment||Annual report to supervisor|
There are two MAP formats that are helpful to consider for a local congregation. A TEAM MAP and INDIVIDUAL MAP.
A TMAP is a MAP that is developed by and for the entire team. The TMAP will identify the ministry goal(s) for the congregation and for the entire team, then chart the agreed upon pathway towards these goals.
An IMAP will flow from a TMAP. It will address the specific goals, action items, deadlines, and responsibilities that each individual has committed to in order to achieve the goals agreed upon in the TMAP.
Why both? Individual MAPs without a team MAP risks each team member going off in different directions – resulting in not being aligned, integrated, and unified in our Healthy Church expression. A team MAP without individual MAPs risks lack of clarity and specificity about what each team member is responsible for.