Christ followers have always been future oriented looking to the coming kingdom of Christ and searching for the signs that reveal his return to the earth. In modern times, however, this eschatological perspective has caused many Christ followers to cease looking at the future events that are surrounding them, causing there to be a great gap between the local church’s effectiveness and the world they are trying to reach. It is this reason, ministries need to implement scenario planning now before the culture moves out of reach and the only option is to exist in obscurity until the day to close the doors arrive.
Scenario planning can serve ministry leaders by providing them an ability to see their environment in a new light and challenge the assumptions that have been held that may be inaccurate (Chermack, 2011). It is the assumptions ministry leaders, and the churches they lead, have that determine their level of effectiveness. For most ministries and ministry leaders, it is not too late to effectively implement scenario planning. In fact, the implementation of scenario planning may provide the necessary insight to look past misplaced assumptions that lead to outdated methods, and reinvent how they approach ministry (Schwartz, 1992).
What is important for ministry leaders who seek to use scenario planning is that they must look outside the church culture they operate in; they must look at the community they serve and build scenarios around reaching that community rather than preserving the internal culture (Wack, 1985). Effective scenarios must be relevant, challenging, and plausible in order to be useful for ministry leaders (Kahane, 2004) and must incorporate leaders within the church in the writing process.
Scenario planning may catapult ministry leaders out of the entrenched church culture they find themselves in to powerfully reach their communities.
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, S. H. (1992). Universals in the Content and Structure of Values: Theoretical Advances and Empirical Tests in 20 Countries, 1–65.
Wack, P. (1985, September 1). Scenarios: Uncharted Waters Ahead. Retrieved March 3, 2016, from https://hbr.org/1985/09/scenarios-uncharted-waters-ahead