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June 30, 2016

Planning for Maximum Effectiveness

By Daniel Im

Every month, Plus Members get video enhanced training from Ministry Grid on topics like leadership, ministry systems, residencies, multiplication, church planting, and multisite. This month, Jim Baker, Executive Pastor at Brentwood Baptist Church, shares his thoughts on organizational planning methods which generate maximum effectiveness..

*Plus Members can watch this entire Video Training by logging in and clicking here.

Organizational Planning: Buckets of Fun

In 1992 a new toy game from Milton Bradley broke into the children’s toy market called Mr. Bucket. The object of the game was for kids to compete by chasing a mechanical bucket on wheels around the room while trying to throw their colored wiffle balls into the bucket. Not only was the bucket moving, but it also had mechanical arms that would attempt to deflect the balls thrown at it, and a “mouth” that would routinely spit balls back out onto the play area.

Planning for effectiveness in a church can often feel like chasing around a toy bucket that wants to keep all of your wiffle balls out. Proper effectiveness takes proper planning, which requires the proper buckets. I’m sorry to say that Mr. Bucket probably doesn’t make the cut!

Jim Baker, Executive Pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church, suggests that good organizational development in a church—the kind that is going to get the job done and maximize the impact of your church in your community—requires three intentional buckets. Jim believes that individual leaders are prone to naturally favor one bucket over the others, which is why they need to partner with other leaders who excel at the other two. Let’s look at these three buckets for organizational development.

Bucket #1: Strategic

Strategic planning is the broadest bucket. It’s all about big picture vision casting that creates sign-posts pointing into the future. Strategic planning answers the question “Where are we going?” Without this bucket, it’s impossible to anticipate the trajectory of the church because no one has determined the destination. Like determining where you want to go on vacation, the “strategy” bucket is about figuring out the region of the country that you want to visit, like the west, or the south. 

Bucket #2: Tactical

Tactical planning narrows the line of sight from “Where are we going?” to “How do we get there?”  Once a church determines where it wants to go or what it wants to do, they then need to figure out the steps to get there. Using the same vacation analogy, this step involves narrowing down the selection of a destination from the region to the individual state (e.g. New Mexico).

To read the final bucket that helps create vibrant planning, click here for the full video and post. This video is part of Plus Membership, so to get full access to it, and much more, I encourage you to become a Plus Member. Click here to see all the benefits of becoming a Plus Member.


  • Leave space and margin in your planning for God to work
  • Whenever you put a measure on someone it bears psychological influence
  • It’s not what you expect but inspect that gets done
  • God may be placing a burden on your church members to reach a specific people group
  • Organizational planning is like a funnel


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.


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