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Strategize Yourself

Below are some questions to help you work through filling out your own strategic plan.

Please read Gary Runn’s article that describes this process in detail before filling out your own. He has some great wisdom.

Tools for Strategic Campus Ministers

1. Strategic on Campus

After your team has read the article, grab this worksheet, the blank template as well as the example template, and start developing your own plan! You could also lead additional strategic planning meetings with any ministry teams you have that are led by students. (i.e prayer team, outreach team etc). When students start dreaming for God, students start taking personal responsibility for that vision. When they own the vision and the ministry you will see your ministry on campus takeoff.

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Sample Strategic Plan Template (PDF)

Blank Strategic Plan Template (Word)

Questions for Strategic Planning


Here are some questions you can use to help you and your team think through “who you are” and “where you want to go”:

  • Mission- Why do you exist? What is the purpose of your ministry?
  • Vision- What would you like to see God do in five years? Describe what it would look like and compress it into a vivid, succinct, compelling sentence.
  • Values- What are the values that define your unique contribution to the mission or the Church? What are the values that guide and direct your decisions? (i.e what you say “yes” and “no” to)?

Other future direction questions:

  • What are you troubled by when you look at the campus and consider the current existence of students? What’s broken? Who is in pain?
  • What has God called you to do about what you see and what you are learning?
  • With unlimited resources, time, and people, what do you envision your campus looking like in the future?
  • With unlimited resources, time, and people, what do you envision your group/ministry looking like this year?
  • What kind of student will you need to take you from where you are today to where you believe God is taking you?


  • What are the demographics of your campus like? Where are students? Who are the influencers?
  • What are students today like? What do they think and value? Where do they spend their time?
  • What is your history on that campus? What is the ministry’s current situation/status?
  • SWOT (this can also be used in the Evaluation Step)

Strengths- what are you doing well that needs to remain strong?

Weaknesses- what are areas of improvement that you must change?

Opportunities- if you seized them, what future opportunities would make a big difference in moving you toward your vision?

Threats- what obstacles or dangers do you need to guard against? (The Big 3: lack of finances, inadequate team, and no outreach to non-Christians)


  • What are the needed and available resources to move your vision forward?
  • How many of your students are actually in relationship with non-Christians?
  • How many students, student leaders, and other volunteers do you have in your ministry right now?
  • What tools to do you currently have to aid in the task reaching the campus?
  • Do you have enough finances for your vision (personal and ministry)? If not, where will you get help?
  • What is your social and web presence? Can students easily find you and get the info they need? Can you communicate and manage a large amount of students?
  • Are you registered? Do you have officers? Do you have all the rooms reserved that will be needed for your events?
  • Is there a Leadership Meeting time, place, day, and frequency?
  • Do you have a follow up plan for new contacts?
  • Do you have a Leadership Covenant and/or the qualifications of a leader (walk, ministry skills, knowledge, vision, character, etc)?


  • What are the issues that surfaced when you did the Current Reality Assessment? As a group, pick the top 3-4 issues from your assessment that are the most important to address next. Your Critical Path Steps become the big (hairy, audacious) goals that address these issues.
  • What are 3-4 major goals you are trusting God for this year? You may also list sub-goals or tactics that will help you get there. Make sure you put a time frame on each goal/sub-goal and who will help.
  • What are things you must do consistently this year/semester in order to move closer to your vision? (suggestions: evangelism, making disciples, and global missions in the context of a praying, worshiping, and learning community)


You might ask these of students, leaders, and staff at a retreat after each semester (especially in the area of evangelism):

  • Can everyone explain our vision/values? Are we living out our values? Moving toward our vision? Are you truly committed to them? If not, why not?
  • What did you most enjoy about your involvement with our ministry? Least?
  • How are we developing leaders? Followers of Christ?
  • Can our students share Christ? Make new disciples? How can we help them do this better? Sooner?
  • How are we developing relationships with the lost? Are we praying for them? Caring for them? On their turf or ours?
  • How are we doing at reaching out to the lost, winning the lost, establishing the new believers, and having them reproduce right where they are?
  • What fears are holding us back? Our students? How can we cultivate courage?
  • If God were to remove His presence, how different would our ministry be? Is it really supernatural?
  • Does our structure allow staff and students to seek out and minister to the lost or are they too busy managing and organizing programs?
  • In our campus ministry I would like to see…
  • In my own personal ministry I would like to see…

Repeat this cycle every semester or year.

Another concise and well-written article with tips on Strategic Planning. ELCA Campus Ministry Strategic Planning Process

2. Strategic about Personal Growth

Now that you know the Strategic Planning Process, you can use this same method personally!

Most great leaders are tenacious about this area of their lives. What kind of person do you want to be? How effective do you want to be? Would you like to grow your knowledge, vision, skill and character so that you are a better campus ministry leader? All the tools and strategies in the world are of little use if you are stagnant spiritually, terrible at relationships, or buried under a mountain of debt. So what kind of person do you want to be? Someone who is always growing, always learning, always stretching yourself, always becoming more like Jesus, and always trusting God for new things? Maybe before you start laying down plans for campus, you should lay down some plans for yourself. This simple, easy to use template will help you to identify the areas where you need to grow as a person and as a minister of the gospel. Remember an axe is only as good as its edge. God is looking to and fro throughout the earth for faithful, obedient, men and women who walk closely with him (my paraphrase of 2Chron 16:9) so that he may use them in mighty ways. Use the Personal Development Plan (PDP) to grow as a whole person and stay spiritually, emotionally, relationally, financially, socially, and intellectually in shape.

Look at the sample PDP and then use the blank template to develop your own goals and action steps. Keep your plan simple. Be realistic. Put this somewhere you can see it. Move the action items into your weekly calendar (see the 3rd Strategic Tool below). Now let’s see how committed you are: Give this to your boss, spouse, mentor and team (if applicable) asking them for feedback on your plan, to pray for you in these areas, and to ask you about how things are going. You will see more success the more you are willing to invite others into the process. You don’t typically grow in isolation.

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Sample Personal Development Plan Template (PDF)

Blank Personal Development Plan Template (Word)

Here is a similar tool in a format you might like better from Cru

To begin, get alone with the Lord for at least a ½ day and pray about this. Ask Him for Psalm 139:23-24. Then work through each section.

  • LIFE STATEMENT: What do you want to be true of yourself at the end of your life? What is worth dying for? Why are you here?
  • VALUES: What are your core values? Values determine priorities which determine your daily choices. Know your core values; they drive everything you do.
  • CURRENT REALITY: List your God given gifts, personality as well as your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT). From this you will see some patterns emerge for areas of growth.
  • RESOURCES: Needed and available resources to help you move forward. What do you have? What do you need?
  • MAJOR GOALS: These come out of the issues from your current reality. Set big goals only God can do. Then list tactics, timeframes, and people who can help.
  • EVALUATE: At least once a semester, then repeat the process.

Remember this process should give you 2-4 things you can really work on to be the person God desires you to be. God is conforming us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29), this is simply a tool to focus both what He is saying to us and how we can partner with Him in the process.

3. Strategic with Time

Time is given to us by God and he has numbered our days. Like money or relationships, we steward the time God has given us. We should seek to use it to bring Him the most glory, as we seek to accomplish all He has called us to each day. As Campus Ministry Leaders, we can either squander our time or invest it wisely. Most of us have little training in this area. But just like cooking, playing a musical instrument, or studying, skill can be acquired and learned. People who are “high capacity” and seem to accomplish a lot are usually just good at managing their time effectively. You can learn this skill as well.

Below is a sheet you can use that combines many of the principles taught in the time management world. Of course, I would recommend taking a Franklin Covey or other time management course (best one day seminar I ever took!), but this highly simplified version can get you started. It is easy enough that you can pass this on to other staff and students who are struggling with “I never have enough time.”

time sheet

Blank Time Management Sheet (Excel)

Here are the key tips:

  • God has given you enough time each day to accomplish the whole of His will.
  • Do this for 4 weeks (nothing shorter will give you enough time to learn this or to see the benefits. Trust me, it will be worth it!)
  • Refer to your Personal Development Plan each week and make sure your personal goals are incorporated into your week as well as your tasks. Choices/tasks come from priorities, priorities come from values, values come from core beliefs. Don’t live out other people’s agenda for your life!
  • Keep this close. Mine is kept in my backpack or on my desk. I refer to it 3-5 times per day.
  • Use the weekly calendar to track where your time went. I still use my phone for appointments. If you turn in a weekly update (and I do recommend you do that! Here is an example for you to follow) to a boss, use this to remember your week and what you accomplished. Evaluate your week. Where did you spend your time? Did you do what you set out to do? Crazy idea: give this form to your boss(es) and share your week with them, asking for feedback (every boss will love this!).
  • Plan your week. Take 15-20 minutes on Monday to write down your goals/tasks for the week, thinking through your roles, relationships, responsibilities, and projects, and personal development plan.
  • Plan your day. Ten minutes of planning each morning can be the biggest game changer. Then work your plan.
  • The secret code for priority: A= (high) must get done today, B= (medium) want to get done today, C= (low) may get done but only if I have extra time. Move all A’s and B’s to next day if you do not accomplish them on the day you wanted to.
  • The secret code for * Ÿ✓✗ ->: Ÿ * is in process, ✓ is done, ✗ is deleted, -> is moved to another day. This way nothing is lost.

Use this to challenge yourself not to stress out more. (By taking on more than you should, or not investing your time wisely, you are stressing yourself). Use this because you want to use your time wisely and not squander it. Honest feedback and reality are friends of the humble, teachable, and broken. We all need help in this area. Accomplishing all God wants us to (no more or less) is a blessing. Use this tool with that perspective.