Better Decisions in Ministry

To be in an executive position of an organization requires a great deal of patience, perspective, and strategic understanding. Such positions provide a great deal of responsibility for the lives that are impacted by the decisions being made at the executive, for both employees and customers. An invaluable tool for executives to use in their decision-making process is scenario analysis.

Scenario analysis is a promising integrative approach to decision-making (Raskin, 2008) utilizing narratives that paint a picture of the perceived future representative of current trends and variables. Scenarios can be broad in their focus emphasizing long-term trends of key variables in various areas (Brummel & MacGillivray, n.d.), but can also be used for short-term decision-making.

In small instances, daily, even a church staff of 10 members use scenario analysis to come to decisions. As we navigate church growth and look forward to a building project, we are constantly making decisions that will create avenues of healthy spiritual growth for those in our congregation, and avoid growth that will inflate numbers but lead to spiritually immature followers. Since there is a fine line between explosive immature growth and steady, healthy growth, our staff is constantly running scenarios of how decisions will play out long-term, as well as what decisions will lead to the future reality we believe God has called us to realize. As we look toward hopeful possibilities, scenarios act as attractors that influence choice toward a desired future (Raskin, 2008), and they provide a way of incorporating more complexity into our view of the future by focusing our attention on the challenging choices that we face (Hammond, 1999). Once our attentions understand the complexities, we are able to make wiser decisions that will positively impact people in our faith community and our local community.


Hammond, A. (1999). 3 Global Scenarios: Choosing the World We Want. The Futurist, vol. 33(iss. 4), pp.38–43.

Hughes, B. (2009). FORECASTING LONG-TERM GLOBAL CHANGE: Introduction to International Futures (IFs). Frederick S Pardee Center for International Studies, pp. 1–21.

Raskin, P. D. (2008). World lines: A framework for exploring global pathways. Ecological Economics, 65(3), 461–470.


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