The bulk of this paper will summarize the desired purpose for Malphurs text and will reflect that while he accomplishes his purpose of detailing the process of what he calls Strategic Planning, he may have in fact attempted to detail so much of the process that he loses the inspirational and unique way in which many leadership experts believe God has called and led the leaders of the people of God through Scripture and history. These are the preparation, creation, and implementation phases. In the preparation phase he gives his personal definition of what strategic management SM actually is and what it is not. He states that SM is the envisioning process that a point leader uses with a team of leaders on a regular basis to think and act so as to design and redesign a specific ministry model that accomplishes the Great Commission in their unique ministry context. After Malphurs details and argues for the definition and need of advanced strategic planning he moves to the next phase which describes what the process is step- by-step before implementing the strategy.

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Review The whole purpose of his book Advanced Strategic Planning is to help local churches become healthy and biblical. He hopes to do this through the process of strategic planning. Malphurs has a heart for the local church. This heart for the local church shows itself in numerous places throughout the book and marks it as a text which seeks to be part of the solution, not the problem. Such advice shows clear concern for the harmony of the body.

Malphurs evinces care for the churches that he seeks to assist. Focus on Theology Malphurs attempts to ground his call for strategic planning in the Bible. Before he lays out the various suggested steps for strategic planning, he offers an page section on the spiritual principles that must undergird the planning process His steps are simple but needed. Each is grounded in Scripture. In each of these matters, as in others, Malphurs seeks to ground the planning process in scriptural principle and godly behavior.

Overemphasis on Strategic Planning In general, it seems that Malphurs places too much value in strategic planning. He seems to regard it as the principal means by which struggling churches may be saved from dissolution. With this noted, I think Malphurs overestimates the value of strategic planning.

Does not the health of the local church depend most on its preaching of the Word, its exercise of the ordinances, and its cultivation of healthy body life and evangelistic outreach? Insofar as the church does contain institutional elements, there is a place for strategic planning. Many churches have not thought enough about their purpose and their mission, and such thinking can do much to revive tired congregations.

This solution, in turn, leads us away from the plain biblical means of church health and growth. Unhelpful Means of Evaluation Malphurs encourages the church to evaluate itself, which in itself is a healthy idea. His form of measurement, however, is concerning. While numbers may reflect the blessing of God on our ministry, they may also reflect other realities.

Our numbers may be high because our doctrine is shallow and easy to stomach. Our evangelism may appear fruitful because our evangelistic program goes soft on hell and perseverance. Strange Model of Polity Advanced Strategic Planning offers a confused summary of traditional polity and then presents an innovative model to replace it. Malphurs rejects the traditional elder-led polity of the Bible and conflates it with elder-rule. The abuse of eldership can and does happen. Perhaps Malphurs has seen this in action, and thus he avoids elder-based polity.

It is an energetic, innovative, and scripturally-minded book. Many churches today face decline or despair. Their members have grown discouraged. In these difficult times, though, we have a great hope. The Lord is sovereign over his church, and he rewards those faithful to his Word. He will not abandon us. In days of great change and struggle, this is our confidence. You can find him on Twitter at ostrachan.


Randy Mann

While I felt well-prepared for approaching this responsibility in areas such as preaching and teaching, leadership in general was an area I felt I needed personal growth. It is not that I did not have leadership experience. I did. It is not that felt completely unprepared for leadership. I did not. But, the area of leadership was the area I had received the least formal education, and was the area I, therefore, had the strongest passion for personal growth.


Book Review: Advanced Strategic Planning, by Aubrey Malphurs

The article below is the second of a two-part series on Strategic Church Leadership. This week, Aubrey Malphurs shares from the voice of experience on strategic planning and leadership in the church. Malphurs is a leading expert in strategic planning for churches, whether they be thriving churches, turnaround churches, or new church plants. Learn more about his ministry at MalphursGroup. I used the term, "strategic planning. I believe that many leaders in general and younger pastors in particular shy away from the term, strategic planning. And those of the emergent generation tend to struggle with planning to begin with much less doing strategic planning.

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