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Duke University

Strategic Management for Churches

Duke University via Coursera

Overview

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Why is vision theologically important for your church, and how should it be realized? How do church goals, objectives, metrics, core values, and culture play a crucial role in this? What kind of pastoral leadership is needed to bring God’s vision for your church to fruition? In this second course in the Duke Divinity+ Church Administration Specialization series, you will learn how to approach strategic management theologically as strategic stewardship for your church. Secular organizations widely use strategic management (including strategic planning) to define their future strategic direction and how to achieve it. In contrast, what we’re calling strategic stewardship for churches seeks to reappropriate strategic management by discerning God’s direction for the church and pursuing God-centered ways of realizing it. This course will focus on select key elements of strategic management: vision (Week 1), core values and culture (Week 2), goals and objectives (Week 3), and metrics (Week 4). We will first explore how each key element functions as a useful management tool. Then, we will reappropriate the key element for theological ends of our church stewardship to God; hence, our terminology of strategic stewardship. Moreover, we will unpack what pastoral leadership for strategic stewardship should entail. Lastly, we will provide exemplar stories from Duke Divinity School alums, who will share how they each approached and implemented a key element in their church setting.

Syllabus

  • Strategic Stewardship of Church Vision
    • Is there a vision or mission statement that directs your church, including its church admin? What work should it do and what kinds of pastoral leadership does it call for? This week, we will begin by addressing the theological importance of the church vision—your church’s go-to statement—as the foundational component of strategic stewardship for churches. Drawing on our church admin series’ overall approach of deploying management means for theological ends, we will first examine how vision functions as an effective strategic management tool in secular organizations. We will then unpack a theology of church vision in order to illumine how vision ought to be appropriated for the theological goals of the church. Lastly, given the theological importance and goals of church vision, we will delineate how and why your pastoral leadership is crucial for your church’s stewardship of church vision.
  • Stewardship of Church Core Values and Culture
    • This week, we will look at the next two elements of strategic stewardship for churches: core values and culture. If your church vision answers why your church exists, then your church core values represent who you are as a church, and your church culture characterizes how things are done in your church. Importantly, culture is inextricably tied to core values, and hence, we are addressing them together. This week, as we did with church vision, we will examine why core values and culture are so important to organizations and then explore what their theological importance is for your church. Lastly, we will unpack what your pastoral leadership should entail for your faithful stewardship of your church core values and culture.
  • Stewardship of Church Goals and Objectives
    • Establishing a formal church vision statement is a significant step toward strategic stewardship. However, how will your church specifically achieve this vision? Church goals and objectives, the next two elements of strategic stewardship, are the means we will explore this week for realizing the church vision. If your church vision articulates where God is calling your church to go, then church goals and objectives should constitute God’s plan for how your church is to get there, in keeping with God’s calling for your church’s core values and culture. First, we will examine why and how goals and objectives are crucial for organizational vision. Then, we will explore how goals and objectives should be reappropriated for your church’s strategic stewardship, and lastly, how you should approach your pastoral leadership.
  • Stewardship of Church Metrics
    • Church metrics is the final element of strategic stewardship that we will address in this course. Church metrics are critical for monitoring progress toward achieving the church vision and gauging church health. To use a travel metaphor with your car as your church, your church vision is your destination, your church goals and objectives are the roads to get there, and your core values and culture are the road signs and guardrails. Then, metrics represent your car’s dashboard, consisting of the navigation system and gauges to monitor your progress toward your destination and your car’s health along the way. We will first examine why and how metrics are critical for vision-based objectives and timely red flags. Then, we will explore how metrics can be redeployed for church stewardship, and what this entails for your pastoral leadership. Finally, we will conclude with course takeaways.

Taught by

Rae Cho

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