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.)


Leave a comment

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s