In previous eras, organizations would spend significant time developing a “strategic plan” that would establish the main areas of focus for the next five to ten years. That approach seemed to work much better when there was a bit more predictability in terms of organization life. While it’s worth considering if life was ever as stable as many like to believe and reminisce about, there’s no question that the personal and organizational world of 2023 and beyond is changing rapidly.
Yet, in the midst of ongoing change it is still helpful to establish some strategic priorities that will help focus investments in both time and finances. Since 2018, Winebrenner Seminary has prioritized three areas of conversation related to strategy: Collaborative Relationships, Contextual Education, Community of Learners. Many previous posts on InDepth have been focused on these, so here are just a few that may be helpful in interpreting how these are evident at Winebrenner:
Collaboration and partnership has emerged as the common thread through each of these priorities. Almost every conversation that now takes place includes consideration of how this will enhance or build our ability to collaborate with others. You can access our growing list of collaborative partners by clicking here.
As we wrap up this five year phase of focusing on these three particular items (Collaborative Relationships, Contextual Education, Community of Learners) I can write with confidence that each has been more deeply embedded into Winebrenner’s organizational life by prioritizing them over the past five years.
While this is helpful in looking back at where we’ve been, it’s also worth taking a few moments to consider what the next five years could looking like. Developing organizational strategic priorities should be a shared process so these are just some reflections in preparation of future conversations:
- Stewardship and financial management will continue to be an area of focus. You can read more about some exciting updates that will continue to affect 2023 and beyond by clicking here.
- Conversations about approaching theological education as discipleship are gaining some momentum. Click here for a summary from last year, although much more has been discussed since that post.
- Returning to language about viewing theological education as a “platform” and developing a unique “operating system” could also be on the horizon.
There are other areas that can benefit from further reflection such as organizational structure and participation within Winebrenner’s community.
Strategy emerges from culture – these are exiting opportunities to give greater consideration to what priorities may guide the future!
- Brent C. Sleasman, President