Its More Than Creative Writing

In order to embrace and understand the future, the practice of scenario planning needs to be implemented. Scenario planning can not be implemented in a haphazard way, or with broad, general details, there must be quality level accomplished in scenario planning in order to avoid anecdotal answers and situational remedies. This is possibly one of challenges ministry leaders run into on a regular basis when they try to plug-and-play a ministry strategy from another church into their own situation and find it doesn’t work. Quality scenario planning can equip ministry leaders with the ability to not have to rely on plug-and-play solutions, but develop their own effective strategies to prosper in the future.

Scenario planning is vital in helping ministry leaders change how they see the environment they are ministering within, and challenge the assumptions they may or may not realize they have (Chermack, 2011). It is within the assumptions that ministry leaders have about their pre-determined elements that critical uncertainties arise, but by changing the perspective on the pre-determined elements, leaders are able to identify critical uncertainties (Schawrtz, 1991). In order to effectively do that, quality scenarios must be developed and used in the strategic foresight process.

In order to use an effective scenario, it must be relevant, challenging, and plausible in order to be useful for ministry leaders (Kahane, 2004). Relevant scenarios are developed through the development of interview data, use a variety of forces in brainstorming and ranking exercises, and incorporate leaders in the scenario writing process (Chermack, 2011). Challenging scenarios must look outside the organization (Wack, 1985) and present variables in surprising ways in order to challenge the assumptions held by ministry leaders (Chermack, 2011). And finally, effective scenarios must be plausible in order to create buy-in.

How will scenario planning shift strategic development for ministry leaders?


Chermack, T. J. (2011). Scenario planning in organizations: how to create, use, and assess scenarios. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

Kahane, A. (2004). Solving tough problems: an open way of talking, listening, and creating new realities. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Schwartz, P. (1996). The art of the long view: paths to strategic insight for yourself and your company. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub. Group.

Wack, P. (1985, September 1). Scenarios: Uncharted Waters Ahead. Retrieved March 3, 2016, from


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