Robert S. Landrebe wonders: “Is strategic planning a waste of time?” And then he answers with a resounding “no.” The Association of Theological Schools and other accrediting bodies require strategic planning, but they're only required because they're essential. Landrebe says that strategic planning practices “ensure that all parts of a complex institution are aligned and moving ahead.”

Strategic planning, “an interactive process in which a school’s leadership formulates the optimal way to achieve a desired future,” offers a number of benefits, including the creation of a time frame to reflect on long-term choices without neglecting short-term deadlines and issues. In addition, strategic planning helps build community among the institution and its stakeholders as they decide on future goals.

This classic article from 2011 provides five critical steps for strategic planning, outlining the necessary actions to develop effective plans. And then Landrebe presents common mistakes that institutions make when planning, including not taking time to discern God’s plan and involving too many or too few people in the process.

Finally, Landrebe includes a basic outline of what an institutional plan should look like, advising against creating a plan that is too lengthy and inaccessible. He also lists some helpful resources for beginning the planning process.

How has your institution utilized any of these concepts presented here? What have your experiences been with strategic planning?

You can read Landrebe's full article on strategic planning.

Read his follow-up article in the latest version of In Trust here: "Creating Your Future Seminary."


Background image: “Blueprint” by Will Scullin.