The objective of strategic foresight is to enable leaders to shift their mental model from seeing the future as more of the same to developing awareness of their external environment and alertness to trends and emerging issues.
In his book Futurecast, George Barna quipped “There are three types of people when it comes to the future: those who will watch what happens, those who will make it happen, and those who will wonder what happened. Which will you be?”
I’m convinced that foresight is a necessary element in designing churches and ministries that are effectively serving their communities.
Consider these four benefits of foresight:
1. Avoid potholes
The Bible says, “A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.” (Proverbs 22:3) It is the responsibility of church leaders to look forward and anticipate changes that could bend our ministry wheels and leave us sitting stranded alongside the road.
2. Seize opportunities
The church should not revert to survival mode. This is a day to thrive. I would love to see community leaders coming to church leaders asking, “how do you know what to do; how do you manage to excel when so many others are struggling?” There are always great opportunities in the midst of perplexing circumstances for those with foresight.
3. Make better decisions in the present
The intention of foresight is not to be futuristic or to impress others with outlandish new-fangled ideas. It’s more about the here and now. We want to be wise like the 200 leaders of the tribe of Issachar who “understood the temper of the times and knew the best course…to take” (1 Chronicles 12:32).
4. Shape the future
We don’t have to watch the future happen and wonder what’s going on. Forward thinking leaders can create a vision that will influence what the future will look like in their context.
Question: Do you think churches are affected by changes in the world around them?