St. Mark's Strategic Ministry Plan was developed over a fifteen month period, culminating in approval by the congregation at a September 2006 voter's meeting.
St. Mark's leadership based its ministry plan on many Bible passages, but felt the passage from Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you...", spoke the most to what our hearts felt.
We truly believe that God has great plans for His ministry at St. Mark and that He is challenging us to discover and implement those plans through His wisdom, guidance and patience.
From leadership sessions based on God's guidance through continual prayer and discussions with the congregation, three strategic initiatives/ministries were developed:
The strategic plan proposes using Small Groups as a way to unite existing ministries while also launching new community outreach activities. Small groups like Drama Ministry, existing youth groups, various Bible study groups and choirs will remain as affinity groups but may decide to incorporate some of these new ideas to get more members. Through small groups and God’s blessings, the intent is to create faith community groups within the Sunnyvale community.
Youth & Family Ministries will initially be considered Small Groups, focused on different age groups or demographic groups in the congregation and community. The groups will be created and led by those with passion in the chosen areas, e.g., Pre-School, Families and Young Couples. Those groups will be encouraged to provide activities that serve the existing congregation as well as reaching out to new people from the neighborhood and friends or family of current congregation members. A few new groups will be formed with the purpose of inviting new people to come learn about Jesus as their Savior. These groups will grow and divide under the cell group model.
To prepare everyone for the establishment of the Small Groups ministry, the Growth & Development Training initiative will initially have the higher priority. Through Growth and Development, people will be provided a solid foundation in Small Group fundamentals, along with small group and general leader training. Additionally, as a stimulus to involve more people in at least one ministry, spiritual gifts classes will be held to provide people with an insight into their God given spiritual gifts and skills and how they can be used for His expanding ministry at St. Mark.
For each of the three initiatives, initial short (first year) and long term (3-5 year) plans were generated. They are:
Growth and Development
Youth and Family Ministry
Small Group Development
Furthermore, each initiative will be lead by a board and overseen by an assigned church council member. Each initiative board will encourage proposals for new ministry programs in that area of interest, reviewing the proposals and making recommendations to the responsible council member on funding and/or other resources required. By sponsoring many pilots, we hope to grow sustainable programs from some of them and get short-term gains and/or “lessons learned” from others.
The Strategic Plan is considered a “rolling plan” with evaluations of the overall activities at least twice a year by the initiative boards, strategic plan committee, church council and congregation. At these evaluation points, the plan will again be extended out to the 5 year plan with course corrections incorporated.
Over time, even the three ministry areas may be changed. Some may be added and others changed significantly. The Strategic Plan Committee will have oversight for that in the continuing evaluation cycle.