Category Archives: Value

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

Ugly Fruit



10 minutes


This object lesson helps children understand that it’s not the outside that is most important; it’s the inside. God looks at their heart and sees the best in them.


  • Several uncut fruits that are ugly on the outside. (Some fruits that would work would be: ugli fruit, rambuttan, dragon fruit, passion fruit, jackfruit, durian.)
  • Several of the same fruits cut for you to taste
  • Enough pieces of the cut fruits for all the kids to have a piece
  • If you can’t find a fruit ugly enough, feel free to use the slide show I prepared for this lesson. (It’s on the Lesson and Material Downloads page.) It has my daughter trying a piece of rambuttan, a fruit common in south and southeast Asia. (It’s quite tasty and makes a nice piece of perishable jewelry, as you’ll see in the slideshow.)


  • Cut up fruit – have pieces available for you and pieces available for all the kids.
  • Practice script.


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

  • (Hold up one of the ugly fruits and say…) ”Anyone interested in eating something like this?”
  • “Looks pretty nasty, doesn’t it?”
  • “Okay, so it’s not the prettiest fruit out there, but have you ever tasted it?” (Eat a piece.)
  • “Mmmmmm…. That’s really sweet!”
  • “I bet some of you would like a piece, huh?” (Have someone pass out fruit pieces.)
  • “Now, how can something that’s so good on the inside be so ugly on the outside?”
  • “I think there is a lesson for us here.”
  • “Just because something – or someone – isn’t beautiful on the outside doesn’t mean they can’t be wonderful on the inside.”
  • “It’s hard to see inside someone, isn’t it?”
  • “But you know who can always see the wonderful things inside us?” (Listen for responses.)
  • “Right, Jesus!”
  • “He sees the best in you!”
  • “So even if some people have told you that you are an ‘ugly fruit,’ remember that Jesus can always see what’s good inside of you!”
  • “It’s ‘Rhyme Time! Here’s our rhyme for today’s lesson:” (Post this on a poster or project it using an overhead or LCD projector, and have the kids repeat it after you several times to reinforce the lesson.)

He loves me like I am today

And sees what others cannot see.

While others only see my faults,

Jesus sees the best in me!

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Filed under acceptance, Christianity, Object Lesson, Value

Touch of the Master’s Hand


10-15 minutes


This object lesson teaches that God uses what the world hardly values. The touch of the Master’s hand makes all the difference in a person’s life. This lesson is inspired by the poem by Myra B. Welch (printed at the end of the lesson).


· A violin if you can borrow one. If not, then use a photograph, or just describe the old violin well.


· Practice the script.


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

· “Let me tell you a story.”

· “An auctioneer waited for the next piece of merchandise to be wheeled out.”

· “To his disappointment, he saw that it was the old violin.”

· “He had spent time inspecting it before the auction began.”

· “It was weathered and worn, dusty and scuffed, with a split in the neck and some mold on the chin rest.”

· “He was sure it next to worthless, so he started the bidding low.”

· “’Who will give me a dollar?’”

· “’One dollar – Now who will give me two?’”

· “’Two dollars – Now who will give me three?’”

· “’Three dollars – Now who will give me four?’”

· “’Anyone? Anyone? Then, three dollars it is. Going once….Going twice….’”

· “From the back of the room, a chair screeched as a gray-haired man scooted it back to take a stand.”

· “All eyes were on him as he walked to the front of the room and picked up the old violin.”

· “He wiped off the dust and then took a moment to tune the strings.”

· “Picking up the bow, he began to play.”

· “The old violin came to life! Such was the beauty of the music the man played that it brought tears to they eyes of many sitting in their chairs.”

· “When he was done, he quietly laid the violin down on the table and walked out of the auction hall.”

· “A moment went by in complete silence. Then the auctioneer said, ‘Who will bid on the old violin? Do I hear $1,000 dollars?’” (Look expectantly at the group of kids until one of them raises a hand. Make the group part of the auction.)

· “’One thousand! But who will make it two?’” (Find another child with a hand raised and point to him/her. Keep this up for several raisings of the bid to let several kids play a part. It’s not important how high they take the bidding. Have fun with it.)

· “’Two thousand! Yes, and three? Three thousand to that gentleman there! Yes, who will make it four? Four thousand to the lovely young lady!….” (When you are ready to move on, say…)

· “’______ thousand! Going once! Going twice, and gone to the young person in that row!’”

· “A cheer went up, but some wept at what they had just seen.”

· “’What made the difference?’ one of them asked, and the auctioneer replied, ‘It was the thing that always makes the difference, my friends. It was the touch of the master’s hand.’”

· “Then gathering his things, he turned and left, wiping a tear from his eye.”

· “Many people are like that old violin, and the world will tell you and them that they aren’t worth anything.”

· “They will point out everything that’s wrong with the person but nothing that is right, and they will say that the person will never amount to much, never achieve anything worthwhile, never make a difference on this planet.”

· “But I want you to know that God doesn’t make junk and that every person on this earth is made in His image.”

· “Some are old and dusty, some are broken in some way, some are out of tune with the rest of the world.”

· “Some wear their scuffs on the outside where you can see them, and some wear their scuffs in their hearts where you can’t.”

· “But no matter what’s wrong with them, they can still do incredible things in the Master’s hand. That’s our Master, Jesus.”

· “If they will just trust Him with their beat up and broken lives, He will help them make beautiful music.”

· “That music will be a blessing to others, and they will all wonder how such beauty can come from something they thought was so worthless.”

· “You know, this lesson is based upon a poem written by a woman named Myra B. Welch.” (Read poem if you like.)

· “She lived a long time ago (1877-1959) and had such bad arthritis that she had to stay in a wheelchair. She loved to play the organ, but the arthritis made it impossible.”

· “To many, Myra Welch must have been like the old violin – broken and of little worth. But to God, she was priceless!”

· “Though she couldn’t play her organ, she learned that she could write poetry by holding a pencil in each of her deformed hands and typing the words by pushing the keys with the erasers.”

· “Her poems all told of how she rejoiced in God’s love, and they have blessed millions of people around the world.”

· “The world saw her as broken, but the touch of her Master’s hand brought beautiful music from her that blessed many.”

· “And our Master, the Lord Jesus, can do the same for you, too!”


The Touch of the Master’s Hand

“Twas battered and scared, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start bidding for me?
A dollar, a dollar – now who’ll make it two _
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?

“Three dollars once, three dollars twice,
Going for three”. . . but no!
From the room far back a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet,
As sweet as an angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: “What am I bidden for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow;
“A thousand dollars – and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand – and who’ll make it three?
Three thousand once, three thousand twice
And going – and gone,” said he.

The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand –
What changed its worth?” The man replied:
“The touch of the master’s hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and torn with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd.
Much like the old violin.

A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on,
He’s going once, and going twice –
He’s going – and almost gone!
But the MASTER comes, and the foolish crowd,
Never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul, and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the MASTER’S hand.

~Myra B. Welch

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Filed under Christianity, forgiveness, Jesus, Object Lesson, self-image, Self-worth, Transformation, Value