Monthly Archives: January 2012

Strategic Planning and Nehemiah (BIBLICAL CASE STUDY)


Teens, Adults


45 minutes

A Biblical Case Study is an exercise that uses Scripture to practice the use of modern business and leadership tools.  In this case study, participants will use the first four chapters of the book of Nehemiah to create a strategic planning Waterfall Model (i.e., Mission, Vision, Strategy, Tactics, Outcomes, Values, Environment).



Nehemiah, chapters 1-4



o  Copies of the file “Strategic Planning and Nehemiah – Slides.ppt” (can be found at on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.  There are two slides in the presentation, and you can either project them with an LCD projector or print them out to be used as handouts. 1 copy per table group if you print them out.)

  • Flipchart paper and markers for each table group (1-2 pages each).
  • Masking tape (if you want to hang the flipcharts on the wall)

o  Computer, LCD projector and screen (OPTIONAL)

o  Bible for each table group


o  Print out the “Strategic Planning and Nehemiah – Slides.ppt” file. (or have it ready to project with the LCD projector)

o  Practice the script.



Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “In strategic planning, there is a simple model that shows the basic elements of a strategic plan and how they relate to each other.” (Hand out Waterfall Model printout, or project on the screen.)
  • “It’s called the Waterfall Model, and it gets it’s name from how each element spills into the next from top to bottom.”
  • “It starts with the Mission.  The Mission is ‘Why we exist.’”
  • “It’s our purpose, why we do what we do.”
  • “Once we’ve designed it, it shouldn’t change very often.”
  • “At the bottom of the Waterfall are the Outcomes.  Outcomes tell us ‘What we hope to achieve’ through our Mission.”
  • “These are specific and measurable goals that let us know if we are achieving our Mission along the way.”
  • “In strategic planning, design your Mission first and your Outcomes second so that you know why you do what you do and what you want to accomplish.”
  • “Below the Mission is the Vision.  The Vision is ‘Where and what we want to be.’”
  • “A Vision is different from a Mission, because it defines a specific point in the future – a long-term goal that we want to reach.”
  • “It paints a picture of the future that tells us how far we want to go or what we want to become.”
  • “It’s likely that an organization, a team or an individual will have many Visions for the future, creating new ones each time the old ones are achieved, but they will probably only have one Mission.”
  • “Below the Vision is the Strategy.  Strategy tells us ‘How we plan to get there,’ and it’s specifically related to the Vision.”
  • “It gives us a mid-term (as opposed to long-term or short-term) set of instructions about how we will reach our Vision.”
  • “It’s more specific than Vision, but it is less specific than Tactics, which are below it on the Waterfall.”
  • “The idea of Strategy is that it gives us the big picture of what our major efforts will be to achieve the Vision.”
  • “Below the Strategy are the Tactics.  These are short-term plans that tell us very specifically ‘What we need to do.’”
  • “Tactics are an action plan that tell who does what by when.”
  • “While it is good for the leadership team of an organization to create the Mission, Vision and even the Strategy, the group doing the work should usually come up with the Tactics.”
  • “This is because they understand the work that needs to be done better than the leaders and because it is important that those doing the implementation of the Vision and Strategy have ownership of what they are doing.”
  • “They are more likely to own what they are doing if they have an opportunity to determine some or all of the Tactics that they will be using.”
  • “If we did a good job with our strategic plan, the Tactics will align with the Strategy to help us to accomplish the Vision, and Outcomes will be achieved along the way.”
  • “There are two other elements that we have to consider.”
  • “The first is Values.  Values tell us ‘How we behave’ as an organization, a team or an individual.”
  • “Values reflect the things we really care about, and they should have influence on every part of the Waterfall model.”
  • “For example, if we had a Value for Integrity, it would not be okay to achieve our Outcomes by doing something dishonest.”
  • “Our Strategy couldn’t involve taking advantage of people, and our Vision couldn’t be to reach a goal at any cost.”
  • “The last element is Environment.  Environment describes “The conditions in which we operate.’”
  • “It includes things that work for us and things that work against us, e.g., competition, culture, government, law, technology, economy, etc.”
  • “We need to consider what Environment we are working in so that we can anticipate how to take advantage of opportunities and minimize threats.”
  • “Moreover, the Environment is constantly changing and will force us to make adjustments in our Vision, Strategy, Tactics and even our Mission and Outcomes at times.”
  • “So, this is the Waterfall Model of Strategic Planning.  What questions do you have before I have you practice using it?”  (Answer any questions.)
  • “To practice using it, I would like for each table group to create a flipchart with a Waterfall Model for Nehemiah as he worked with the Israelites to build up the walls of Jerusalem.”
  • “You can find the story in the book of Nehemiah.  We will work just with chapters 1-4.”
  • “We could use the entire book, but that might take too long, so I’ve limited the exercise to just these first four chapters.”
  • “On your flipcharts, you will make a Waterfall Model that shows Nehemiah’s Mission, Vision, Strategy, Tactics, Outcomes, Values and Environment.”
  • “The information may not be explicitly stated for each of the elements, so it’s okay to make an educated guess about what it might be.”
  • “For example, Nehemiah never tells us his Mission, but we can infer it from what he says and does in the story.”
  • “Does anyone have any questions before we get started?”  (Answer questions.  Then allow 20-30 minutes for them to create their flipcharts.  When everyone is done, have each team present their flipchart to the larger group.  Debrief by asking each group to share what they learned from the exercise and how they will use it.)


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Filed under Case Study, Mission, Nehemiah, Purpose, Strategic Planning, Value, Vision

Garbage Collector (QUICK DRAMA)


This short drama highlights our tendency to not trust God with the garbage in our lives.  Often, prayer is a last resort after we have tried in every way to fix the problem ourselves.  God is waiting for us to bring all our garbage to Him.  He’s not shocked by the stuff we’ve been carrying around, and it doesn’t make Him love us any less.



  • Use a thick marker to write the following words (each word in large, bold letters and each word on a separate sheet of paper): SIN, SHAME, HURT, PAIN, ANGER, BITTERNESS, UNFORGIVENESS, DISAPPOINTMENT, FEAR, REGRET, BETRAYAL, DISHONESTY, ADDICTION, LUST, ENVY, PRIDE, JEALOUSY, HATRED, GREED, SELFISHNESS, PREJUDICE, RACISM, THEFT, UNFAITHFULNESS, MEANNESS (Feel free to use other words that better suit your audience.)
  • Crumple up all the sheets of paper.
  • Assemble a costume for the person playing Jesus (white robe, sash or shawl, beard, etc.)


SCENE:  Jo/e enters from the side or back of the room, harried and unsuccessfully trying to hold onto armfuls of crumpled sheets of paper.  Each time she/he drops one, she/he stoops to pick it up before continuing toward the stage.  Dressed recognizably in a white robe and having a beard – Enters casually following Jo/e, watching her/him curiously as they both move to the stage.


Jesus –      “Hey, Jo/e, watcha got there?”


Jo/e –        (Clearly uncomfortable and trying to hide the crumpled paper from Jesus) “Oh, hi, Jesus.  I’m not sure what you are referring to. I don’t have anything.”


(As she/he is talking, several of the crumpled papers fall to the ground.  Jo/e hurriedly tries to pick them up, but Jesus stoops and picks one up before Jo/e can get to it.)


Jesus –      (Uncrumpling the paper and holding it inconspicuously in a way so that the audience can see what is written on it or reading it aloud) “Jo/e, this is garbage.  Why are you carrying this around?”


Jo/e –        (Trying to take the paper back from Jesus) “Oh, Jesus, don’t worry about that.  I’ve got that taken care of.” (Drops more papers in attempt to get the one Jesus is holding.)


Jesus –      (Keeping the first paper out of Jo/e’s reach and picking up another one from the ground, opens it and reads it aloud.) “Jo/e, this one, too?  Don’t you know that you can give this stuff to me? ”


Jo/e –        (Trying unsuccessfully to get papers back from Jesus but dropping more each time.) “Jesus, please let me have those back!  They’re mine, and I’m handling them.”


Jesus –      (Picking up another paper and reading it aloud.) “Oh, Jo/e!  This is too much for you to carry!  All this garbage is making your life a mess!”


Jo/e –        “Jesus, I really don’t want you to see those. And I’m doing fine with them, really!  I’ve had them for a long time.”


Jesus –      “I know you have, Jo/e.  I’ve been waiting for you to bring them to me, but you’re stubborn, and you’ve been holding on to them for far too long. Your garbage is starting to stink, Jo/e, and you can’t hide it any longer.  Let me take it away for you.”


Jo/e –        (Clutching the papers) “But I don’t know how!  It’s part of me, and I’m afraid of letting it go.”


Jesus –      “I’m not asking you to let go of all of it at once. We can start small. How about we start with this one? (Gestures with one of the papers He has collected.) Can I keep it?”


Jo/e –        (Looking pained and indecisive for a moment before relenting) “Oh, okay! Keep it!  But just that one!” (Reaches over, grabs the other two pieces of paper from Jesus, crumples them back up and replaces them in the pile in her/his arms.)


Jesus –      (Smiling) “Okay, Jo/e, it’s a start…and a good one.  Let’s talk about where this came from and how to keep it from controlling your life.” (Turns and begins walking toward the exit.)


Jo/e –        (Stooping to pick up any dropped pieces of paper before following Jesus out of the room.) “Hey, you know, Jesus…I feel a little better already.  I may have another one in here somewhere that I’m ready to give you.”


Jesus –      (Before exiting with Jo/e following) “Excellent, Jo/e!  From now on, I want you to consider me your personal garbage collector.  I do pickups anytime, day or night.”





Filed under acceptance, Confession, drama, forgiveness, prayer, Problem solving, Quick Drama, Repentance, Sin, skit

Men of Issachar (DEVOTION)

Read the following Scriptures.  Then, answer the questions below.

·      1 Chronicles 10:1-14

·      1 Chronicles 11:1-3

·      1 Chronicles 12:23 & 32


  1. What do you think it means that the men of Issachar “understood the times?”
  2. How would you describe “the times” at this moment in Israel’s history?
  3. What value did “knowing the times” represent to David?
  4. How important is understanding the times for our organization?
  5. What do you think it means that they “knew what Israel should do?”
  6. What value did “knowing what Israel should do” represent to David?
  7. What value does it represent for us at this time?



Filed under Devotion, Discernment, Strategic Planning, Vision, Wisdom

SWOT Analysis of the 7 Churches of Revelation (BIBLICAL CS)

This activity is a Biblical Case Study.  It uses Scripture to practice using a strategic planning tool – SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).

Read Revelation, chapters 2 and 3.  Then perform a SWOT analysis on each of the seven churches mentioned there.  The answers are available in the file “SWOT Analysis of the 7 Churches of Revelation – Answers” at on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.

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Filed under Strategic Planning

Filled with the Spirit (OBJ LESSON)


10-15 minutes

This object lesson teaches that you need the Holy Spirit to minister effectively to others. If you don’t spend time with God each day to get filled with His Spirit, you will eventually run dry and have nothing left to offer anyone else.



  • Anyone in Christian ministry



You can choose from the following Scriptures depending on the teaching points that you would like to make about the lesson.

  • Judges 16 (Samson’s repeated sins and loss of the Spirit)
  • John 7:37-39 (let anyone thirsty come to me…rivers of living water will flow from him)
  • Rom 8:5-11 (life through the Spirit)
  • Ephesians 5:18-20 (be filled with the Spirit)



  • Four large styrofoam cups
  • Gallon of water
  • Pencil
  • Basin to catch the water
  • Tape
  • Dry cloth
  • Bible



  • Set the basin on a table or other raised service where everyone can see it.
  • Gather the other materials on the table to have them ready.
  • Practice the script.



Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “This cup represents you.” (Show one of the cups.)
  • “This water represents Living Water which represents the Holy Spirit.” (Show container of water.)
  • “To do effective ministry for God, you need to be filled with His Spirit.”  (Fill cup with water.)
  • It would be nice if we could just get filled with His Spirit once and stay full all our lives. “
  • “Then we would go through life producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22) every day.”
  • “But it doesn’t work that way, because God’s Spirit leaks in our lives.”
  • “When we sin, His Spirit leaks.” (Poke a hole in the side of the cup with the pencil, and let the water drain into the basin.)
  • The more we sin, the more His Spirit leaks.” (Poke more holes in the side of the cup.)
  • “So we need to go back to the Lord every day to patch up our holes through confession, repentance and obedience.” (Use the cloth to dry the outside of the cup and the tape to cover over the holes.)
  • “…and to get a fresh filling of His Spirit.” (Pour more water into the cup.)
  • But of course, our flesh battles against His Spirit in us (poke new holes in the cup), so when we sin, we need to return to God, confess, repent and obey so that He can fill us again.” (Repeat the process. This time, let the water overflow the cup, call up a few volunteers and have them use the extra cups to catch as much of the overflow as possible.)
  • “As long as we keep coming to the Lord to be filled each day, He will bless us with more of His Spirit than we need, and the overflow will bless those around us.” (Ask your volunteers if they feel blessed.  After a moment, stop pouring and poke a new hole in the bottom of the cup.)
  • But if we stop coming to Him daily, our cup will eventually run dry, and we will have nothing worthy to share with others.”
  • “We’ll be just like this cup – useless for our purpose.”
  • “Because it’s never the container that blesses people; it’s the Living Water inside!” (Thank and dismiss your volunteers.)

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Filed under Burnout, Confession, Holy Spirit, Ministry, Obedience, Repentance

Parking Lot (GAME)


15-20 minutes

This game forces team members to work together in order to solve logic puzzles.  Team members will work puzzles representing cars parked irregularly in a square parking lot.  There is only one way out, and they must coordinate their movements so that their “car” is able to make it off the lot.


These Scriptures are provided as possible context for talking about the topics of problem solving or collaboration, but they aren’t essential to the activity.  Use them if they suit your purposes.

  • 1 Kings 3:16-28 (creative problem solving)
  • Daniel 5:12 (solve difficult problems)
  • Nehemiah 2:11-18, 4, 5 or 6 (creative problem solving)
  • Nehemiah 3:1-32 (collaboration)



The amount of materials you will need for this game will depend largely on the size of your group and how many small groups you need to create.

  • For each group of 4-6 people – Posterboard, futureboard or cardboard (One white piece, and one light-colored piece. Use the size that is readily available in the stores – about 2 ft tall x 2.5 ft wide)
  • Thick, black, permanent marker
  • Ruler
  • Straight-edge for drawing lines (optional)
  • Scissors or cutting tool
  • One copy per team of each of the puzzle patterns and answer keys in the file “GAME – Parking Lot – Patterns.pptx.”  (You can find this file on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at  Alternately, you could project an image of each of the patterns using a Computer, LCD projector and screen.)
  • Prizes for winning teams (Optional)



  • With the permanent marker and the straight edge, mark off a large square on the white posterboard, futureboard or cardboard.  (24 in x 24 in).
  • Divide this square into six squares vertically and six squares horizontally using the ruler, and mark off the lines with the permanent marker.  (Each square should be 4 in x 4 in.)
  • Mark an arrow, pointing to the right in the square on the far right on the third row from the top.  (See the diagram to the left for a better idea of what this looks like.)
  • On the light-colored posterboard, futureboard or cardboard, measure and mark off nine, rectangular pieces according to the following dimensions:
    • 3 pieces of 4 in tall x 12 in wide
    • 6 pieces of 4 in tall x 8 in wide
  • Cut these pieces out.
  • Mark diagonal stripes down one of the 4 in tall x 8 in wide pieces of posterboard, futureboard or cardboard.
  • Divide the group into smaller groups of 4-6 people each.
  • Practice the script.


Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to play a game called, ‘Parking Lot.’”
  • “Every team has a white game board with 24 squares on it and nine separate pieces of posterboard (or futureboard or cardboard).”
  • “You’ll notice that one of your pieces has diagonal lines drawn across it.  This is YOUR car.”
  • “All the other pieces represent ‘cars’ that belong to other people.  Some are bigger cars than the others.”
  • “The white game board represents a parking lot.”
  • “I’m going to hand you a pattern (or “show you a pattern on the screen”), and your group should lay the separate pieces on your game board to match the pattern.”
  • “You will only need eight of the pieces, because one of the pieces will be used for later patterns after the first one.”
  • “Once you have duplicated the pattern on your game board, you will then work as a team to get your car out of the parking lot.”
  • “There is only one way out, and it’s marked with an arrow on your game board.”
  • “To get your car through the exit, you will have to move the other cars up and down or right and left to get them out of the way.”
  • “None of the cars can turn, and they can’t move sideways.”
  • “If they are facing vertically, they can only move vertically.  If they are facing horizontally, they can only move horizontally.”
  • “They cannot go through or over or under another car, but if there isn’t a car in the way, they can move as many unoccupied spaces as possible.”
  • “The last rule is that you can only move one car at a time and only when I tell you to move.”
  • “The team that gets their car out of the parking lot with the fewest moves wins.”
  • “What questions do you have before we get started?” 
  • (Answer any questions.  Then, pass out the first pattern.  Allow groups three minutes to form a strategy, and then remind them that each team will move together as you give the signal.)
  • (Tell them to make their first move.  When everyone has made it, tell them to make their second move, and so on, until a group gets their car free.) 
  • (After you have allowed them to make 20 moves, if no team has won, you may want to let them start over.  None of the puzzles require more than 20 moves.) 
  • (Hand out copies of the Answer Key for each puzzle so that teams that didn’t complete it can see how it is done.)
  • (Award a prize for the winning team if you like, and play another round by handing out a second pattern.)
  • (There are a total of six patterns available for use in the file. There are also Debrief Questions to highlight the teaching points.)


Debrief Questions & Discussion

  1. “What was challenging about the game?”
  2. “What did your team have to do to get your car free each time?”
  3. “What can you learn about problem solving from this activity?”
  4. “What can you learn about collaboration?”
  5. “How can this help you back in the real world of challenging problems?”

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Filed under Collaboration, creativity, Game, Problem solving, teamwork