We are getting ready to do something akin to ‘strategic planning’ at All Saints’. This might be better thought of as ‘making decisions while engaging strategic thinking’. In other words I’m not looking for a data collection type of process (except when such is called for in a specific instance as we go forward), but more a series of educated intuitions that give rise to some consensus about forecasts (rather than predictions) of what is going on in the world in which we proclaim good news; and based on which we can make some choices that include naming priorities for mission (What form will worship need to take going forward? How important is the establishment of local, national and global networks and are those implicit in being Episcopalian? What is going on in mid Town and how might that affect our vision for a master plan for our block? etc. etc.)
To that end I’m going to the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parish meeting in St. Louis later this week to listen to Bob Johansen of the Institute for the Future which I hope will be useful to our process. I’m looking for a way of thinking about what ministry will mean in an increasingly post Christendom world, but one in which we have many parishioners who value the remnants of Christendom, particularly in the way we worship. Strategic planning will be more an educational process for the steering committee, for area conversation groups and for the whole parish as the vestry makes decisions for our future, rather than a product driven process that result in long list of things to do, beautifully presented, of course. To this end we will also follow some of the advice of the Holy Conversations work of the Alban Institute .