Friday, February 29, 2008

Pretentious Planning

Strategic planning is seen as an essential tool for any enterprise. New business ventures need a business plan before they can attract investors and obtain loans. This same thinking thrives in the church.

Yet this tool is not so benign.

Alan Roxburgh writes:

The work of the Spirit is always greater than our imagined worlds and that God must always be in the process of breaking the boundaries we set up to define and circumscribe the limits of the church and its activities. In this sense God's purposes are often other than those which we establish and embed in our institutions. This is not to criticize or judge these institutions but to suggest there is always a dynamic, eschatological tension in all our organizing and planning. It even suggests that, at least from time to time, the Big Idea we have and around which we align all our resources and strategies as schools can miss what God is about in the world.

But in a time of discontinuous change it is no longer the Big Ideas or experts or the few who are able to make the kinds discernment and decisions about planning and actions that get at the questions of what God is up to in the world. When boundaries begin to shift or frameworks come into question this liminal-type of situation requires the capacity for a whole community to be brought into the conversation about innovation and planning. Without this engagement across the system in a mutually critical dialogue the default to strategic planning methods will generally result in brilliant plans that, in the end, leave the system essentially where it was before the planning began.

I would suggest that when strategic planning is the primary mode of making actions within social systems formed by the narrative of the Gospels that reveal this God then it is inevitable that the other, whether faculty, or the students we form or the local churches we seek to resource, becomes objectified, a means, end or function of something that is other than what God is about in the world.

Part of the problem with strategic planning is the assumption that we can create the future we want by managing our current resources. And those resources, remarkably, include human beings, reducing them to little more than objects that we manipulate to achieve our long-term goals. Even God becomes a "raw material."

This doesn't mean that we just fly by the seat of our pants, though real life often feels this way. We need to prepare for the future. We need to be intentional about what we do and what we choose not to do. But most of all, our job is to discern what God is up to and to be willing to participate in that as opportunities present themselves.

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be"

1 comment:

Stavanger Modified Pictures said...

Free English book on Islam and on Jesus from an Islamic perspective for download in PDF format:

Salaam friend
You are free to download any books for free. Traditional and not, as Faith is to seek knowledge.
I think you would like "Arab conspiracies..." as it show that Islam as practiced has litle to do with the Quran.
Wassalam Bahr