23rd May 2019
In 2013, Phil Varley, our Associate Pastor, and I had a breakfast meeting we would not forget for a long time. We had arranged to meet Rich Nathan, who leads the largest Vineyard church in the USA in Colombus, Ohio. It regularly gathers 10,000 people each week and we were looking forward to seeing what we could learn from him.
The conversation was going well until he started asking some probing questions about King’s planning cycle:
“When do you discuss the aims for the church year with your senior leadership team?”
I replied confidently that we take our team away each September to agree on goals for the year ahead. It went downhill from there!
Rich was unimpressed. “Why do you take all your key leaders away at the beginning of the new church year, when you need your full focus at a key growth moment in the church?” My confidence began to ebb away. He continued with a series of quick-fire questions:
“When is your budget year?” My answer of April to March left him looking puzzled.
“So, your financial planning cycle is not linked to your church year?” By now I knew I was out of my depth. In a few moments, he had discovered that we were taking our key staff away at the wrong time of year and that there was a disconnect between the setting of annual goals and the setting of the budget. Things were about to get worse:
“Then how do your site leaders and department heads integrate their aims for the coming church year with the overarching aims of the church?”
Ouch! My cover was blown. It’s a breakfast meeting I will never forget.
As a result of that meeting with Rich, we reworked the whole planning cycle at King’s. We still take the senior staff away for a week, but we now do it in May, agreeing the objectives for the year starting the following September. This year we have five key goals and we spent the majority of our time in France last week discussing and finalising them. On Tuesday I presented them to the rest of our fantastic staff. Over the next few weeks, senior staff will be writing papers detailing the objectives for their own department or site, in line with the five key goals agreed last week. And yes, following that infamous breakfast meeting with Rich Nathan, we have now reworked our financial budget to run from September to the following August to correspond with our annual goal setting.
These adjustments have ensured that all of us – elders, trustees and staff – are working from the same page.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.