Skip to content

Church Strategy

Tools and Trends for Strategic Planning

Knowing Your “Customers.”  Find a business person in your congregation this week.  Ask who their major clients are.  They will immediately be able to list a few names of companies.  Then ask how they take care of those clients.  Again, they will be able to tell you several things that they do to care for these “key accounts” or “strategic accounts” or “major customers.”

Don't turn your pastors into ER doctors. Develop your approach to "account management" to ensure that your church focuses not solely on those in crisis. (Image from

It probably involves proactive face-to-face meetings; it probably involves a special level of service when the customer calls.  But – if the business has been around long – usually the best 20% of customers receive 80% of the attention.

Why Does Church Get This Wrong?  Now find a pastor.  Ask who keeps their church healthy.  They will have to think a bit, but they’ll come up with a few names.  Then ask how they take special care of those people.  The pastor will be stumped.  (Let’s be clear.  In church, I’m not talking about special attention the people who give the most money.)

Most churches are set up to triage.  People with failing marriages, deaths in the family, psychological issues, crises of faith, etc., receive the church’s first and best efforts.  Those who seem “OK” can go months or years without proactive personal outreach from anyone at church.

A business that only spoke to customers when products break would quickly go out of business.  A college that only spoke to the donors who call would not raise much money.  And a church that focuses all of its attention on its most difficult congregants will soon find itself with only difficult congregants.

Am I saying to abandon your people in need?  Of course not.  The Emergency Room is a critical service.  But by adding a “personal trainer” role, you can bring more spiritual health to more people.

Beyond ER Doctors: Next time, I will discuss how you can enlist your lay leaders to create – as in business – good “account management” to proactively keep your healthy people connected to the church and growing.  You can unleash an army of “personal trainers” rather than only connecting with congregants when they have become so sick that they show up in the spiritual emergency room.


%d bloggers like this: