by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 9/8/15.
I created this exercise to help leaders see that strategy planning is often undertaken in the church in a emotional and imprecise manner (and that is something we must change).
And so in previous postings, I explained how to rate various plans with a simple SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Yet some readers and students (especially those with strategic/operational leadership leanings) sometimes find such quantitative analysis a bit tedious. (I did actually when I was in seminary. But as I progressed through graduate school I came to enjoy research).
Thus for the above two reasons, sometimes those with strategic/tactical gifts and those with tactical/operational attributes will find this exercise helpful.
A Leadership Exercise
Let’s start by recalling that Baumhart asked business people “What does ethical mean to you?” (Church Leaders MBA, p. 29) The following were the answers he received:
“What does ethical mean to you?” Answers:
1) What my feelings tell me is right. 50%
2) In accordance with my religious beliefs. 25%
3) Based on the Golden Rule. 18%
Now, let’s see if this also might be true regarding how Christian ministries pick their strategies (and select programming). Here is an adaption of Baumhart:
How do churches usually decide upon programming?
#1: What they feel is a good program.
#2: In accordance with what other Christians and churches think about a program.
#3: A program based upon a bible passage.
So, pick either #1, #2 or #3 and tell why it isn’t (or is) a good way to choose a strategic ministry tactic. And, give an example if you know of one.
For example, you might explain why “relying on your feelings” is not a good way to choose a program. And, you might site a personal example. Or you might share why basing a strategy on a merely bible passage could be misleading. Again, you could give an example from your personal history with the church.
Baumhart, R. (1968). An honest profit: What businessmen say about ethics in business. New York: Holt, Reinhart and Wilson.
Smith, Mark and Wright, David. W. (2011). The church leaders’ MBA: What business school instructors wish church leaders knew about management. Circleville, OH: Ohio Christian University.