The typical congregational planning process is overloaded with wishes, dreams, and myths, which undermine effective decision-making.

Nine common examples illustrate this syndrome:

Myth 1: If we build it, they will come

"We now average about 400 at worship, and we have designed a comprehensive strategy to double our membership over the next six years. The recent and projected population growth in this community suggests that is a realistic goal. Therefore we have launched a capital funds campaign to double the size of our physical facilities. We're convinced if we build it, they will come."

Reality: That slogan was a great story line for a wonderful baseball movie, but for churches, it overlooks two crucial variables: The initial focus on responding to rapid population growth should be on expanding the ministry and raising the quality of what is offered. That usually means that adding program staff should come before constructing additional facilities.

A second issue is the assimilation ...

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