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Your 30-60-90 Day Plan - Episode 27


Hi, this is Mark Jones and today I want to share a story about how I completely overhauled the most important ministry of the church and did not lose one member.

But before we get into that, I want to thank you for listening to Coaching Christian Leaders.  I truly appreciate your support.

Since episode 22 we have been studying how to lead change in your organization. We learned that all changes go through three distinct phases. First, something must end. Then the second phase is what Dr. William Bridges in his book Managing Transitions the neutral zone. And finally, the third phase is the starting of something new.

Today we are going to talk about starting that new ministry. And I will have several coaching questions for you that will help with the startup

In the last episode, we focused on the work going on while you are between the old and the new – the neutral zone phase. I recommended that create and manage a transition management team. This team is preparing future leaders, creating the necessary materials – curriculum, policies, things like that. It is a highly creative time, that should never be skipped.

One thing the transition management team must create is a 30-, 60-, 90-Day Plan. This 30, 60, 90 Plan will get your start-up off on good footing, and most importantly it will enable you to get some early wins.

John Kotter, in his book Leading Change, really stresses the importance of these early wins.

I am really keen on Dr. Kotters’ book, Leading Change. I want to recommend you pick up a copy. It is an excellent book and I will be referring to some of his ideas today. And in future episodes, we will dive even deeper to try and take Dr. Kotter’s ideas and apply them to the church.

Like William Bridges book, Managing Transitions, Dr. Kotter did not write his book with a church in mind. Rather, the focus is on businesses. But I do believe we can learn from these books and put into action many of the things they present.

Let me quickly share with you Dr. Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model. A few of his ideas will shape this episode. And I will come back to John Kotter’s work in future episodes.

  1. Create an Urgency – I there is no urgency for this change you are attempting then it will fail. You, the leader, need to communicate this urgency. One more thing, if your congregation or your leaders do not catch this urgency, the change will not happen.
  2. Form Powerful Guiding Coalitions
  3. Develop a Vision and a Strategy – I will say bit more about this is a few minutes.
  4. Communicate the Vision – In past episodes, I touched on communication.
  5. Remove Obstacles
  6. Create Short-Term Wins
  7. Consolidate Gains
  8. Anchor Change in the Corporate Culture – Make this change stick or become an essential part of the ministry.

I will feature a few of these in today’s episode. But to get the full understanding, you need to pick up Leading Change by John Kotter.

Now let’s consider your 30, 60, 90 Plan.

Your Transition Management team needs to create this plan – 30, 60, 90 Plan – which will map out the first 30, 60, and 90 days of the start-up. Over the last several episodes we have used the example of changing from a Sunday School model to a small group model of discipleship.

The 30, 60, 90 plan will map out what the first, second, and third month of this transition will look like and what it will accomplish. I will not go into the finer details of this plan using this example. That would not be productive. But I will cover some questions that will guide you as you develop the 30, 60, 90 plan.

One question the team must answer is, What is the vision for this start-up?

Two things to consider when you develop this vision.

  1. For a new ministry, I would not create a vision with a longer look than one year.

In this day and age, you should not create a vision that looks out beyond three years. But for something new let’s keep that original vision to one year. In fact, what I am asking you to do is to break that first year down into 90 blocks. ..... At the end of one year, bring the team back together and create a 3-year vision.

  1. More importantly, this ministry and its vision must support the mission of the organization.

Let me give you an example. Where I am the pastor, we believe strongly that God has already given the mission to the church. I teach that every local church has the same mission – and it’s the Great Commission. So our mission statement is based on the Great Commission.

Every ministry we start has to support the idea of sharing Christ and building believers. If it doesn’t, we won’t start it.

So my advice to you, if your new ministry does not support the vision of the church, don’t do it.

Another question your team must answer as you create the 30, 60, 90 Plan is, What are the objectives or goals of this start-up? These need to be concrete, not abstract. They must be measurable.

You can create objectives for each 30-day period, or set objectives for the end of the 90 days. Going back to our example – a 90-day objective for small groups might be to get 75 percent of all church service attendees in a life group. At the end of the first 90 days, we can easily measure that.

This example, 75 percent of all church service attendees in a small group is what we call a Lag Measure. A Lag Measure is a key measurement for the goal. Here’s a personal example, when I step on the scale and read my bodyweight, that is a lag measure. It is a reported number that I can do nothing about, but it does tell me whether or not I reached the goal.

The next question to ask as you create your 30, 60, 90 plan is, What are the milestones this startup must accomplish over the next 3 months? These milestones are your Lead Measures. A Lead Measure is what you must do the reach your objective.

These are best stated as actions. You want to create the least amount necessary to reach the objective.

I promised you a story about how I completely overhauled the most important ministry in the church and did not suffer for it. Here’s that story.

Years back, I had to lead the church through a complete overhaul of how we financially supported missionaries. We had some key objectives to accomplish.

  • One objective was to reduce the number of missionaries from 72 to approximately 12.
  • Another was to support the remaining 12 at no less than $150 per month.
  • Another objective was to put missions giving in the church budget so that the entire congregation supported our missionaries.
  • A related objective was to fix the mission giving to approximately 25% of the overall church budget.
  • Finally, we wanted all of the supported missionaries to be serving in such a way that it supported our goal for missions – which was church planting and evangelism.

The existing method of mission support was a faith promise that individual church members made to individual missionaries and then funneled that money through the church. When I became the pastor, 100 men women and children were giving 100,000 dollars a year to missions. That was approximately 80% of the church budget. The intent was noble but it was not sustainable.

Here are the milestones or lead measures we had to accomplish along the way.

  • We needed to create a firm mission statement for the mission program – church planting and evangelism.
  • We developed an extensive survey that was sent to all 72 missionaries. It asked many questions about their ministry – where they served, what they were doing, their mission statement, their support levels – and many other questions.
  • The mission committee reviewed all of the surveys
  • The mission committee then selected 12 missionaries that we would support going forward.
  • At key points along the way, we informed the church leadership and the congregation of the progress.
  • We informed the 12 that they would now be supported by the church budget.
  • And we informed the other 60 that their support would no longer come from the church.
  • We encouraged the members of the congregation who had supported these missionaries in the past to continue to do so but not through the church.

Wakefield Valley Bible Church is a church with a long culture of supporting missions. I knew that this change was essential but I did not know how it would all turn out. In the end, we did select 12 missionaries, their support now came directly out of the church budget. That amount was approximately 25 % of the budget. So, in the end, it was a successful change and it still holds to this day.

In you 30, 60, 90-day plan you need to anticipate the major obstacles to the success of this startup. You cannot foresee every obstacle, but you can anticipate most. So ask your team, What are the major obstacles to the success of this change? And then develop a response to the obstacles.

One final thing. When you launch this change, this startup, before you begin you must identify the wins the victories. And you need to plan how you will celebrate these wins.

Do not hope you have wins. Do not anticipate wins. Rather, identify your wins before you even launch. You should have at least one major win for each 30-day period.

Going back to our original example – Sunday School to Small Groups – The objective was 75 percent of all church attendees involved in a small group. A win would be when you achieve 40 %. And another is when you achieve 50%. Maybe you have geographic objectives with small groups – a small group on this side of town and another on the other side of town. A win would be a new group started in a new part of town.

These are just examples. The important thing is you identify them before you start and you celebrate them publicly when they are accomplished.

So quickly, here are the coaching questions you can use to aid in developing your 30, 60, 90-day plan.

  1. What is the 1-year vision for this start-up/change?
  2. How does this vision support the mission of the church?
  3. What are the goals or objectives for this change?
  4. What are the milestones or lead measures that will help you accomplish the objectives
  5. What are your anticipated obstacles to success?
  6. What are your wins?
  7. How will you celebrate these wins?

I really want to help pastors and missionaries develop your ability to lead change. I would love to help you build a thriving, healthy church. So if you feel like you or your church is stuck, let’s meet, look at the situation, and find the solutions that will move you and your church forward.

I will have a link in the show notes. You can use that link to set up a 15-minute discovery call and from there we can schedule your two free coaching sessions. If you can’t get to the show notes to use the link, just email me at Mention you heard about this offer on the podcast.

We have more to learn concerning change. We still need to learn how to make the change permanent. And we have some great interviews coming up.

Make sure you subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or anywhere you listen.

Also, don’t forget to email me at if you are interested in coaching.

Thanks, this is Mark Jones, and I look forward to helping you build a healthy church.

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