Aubrey Malphurs’ book on Advanced Strategic Planning, Malphurs emphasizes on the importance of adopting a vision. Throughout the chapters he define vision and promote its importance, identifying the personnel and process for achieving the vision and give counsel on communicating vision to the community. He gives equal emphasis to execution and maintenance of the vision. In order to come up with the vision, Malphurs is quick to cross boundaries and stress the importance of working together with the Para-church ministries. He draws his examples from scriptures in the bible and the market place. For example, his timeless principle is copied from the bible in the book of Nehemiah.
Marphur’s immense experience as a pastor, interim pastor, consultant and professor give him an upper hand when it comes to invigorating the church through strategic planning. As a result, he addresses many problems affecting the church today and reaffirms the significance of following the process closely. He perfectly stresses on the importance of differentiating between mission, vision and values. He spends most part of his time in defining and demonstrating on the importance of developing a vision.
One of the book’s utmost strength which also may be its utmost weakness is the use of graphs. Sometimes the content appears to be outdated and too repetitious. This can be damage to the overall aim of the book. Developing a vision may seem to be an overwhelming task and hence putting the whole precious process at jeopardy.
The other weakness of the book is that the author places the whole responsibility of vision development to one single person that is the church leader. In a local church environment, this seems impractical in the light of rural changeovers that happen after every three to four years. If we embrace the author’s view on this point, then it is obvious that the church will be in a state uncertainty as each new church leader comes up with his/her vision.
One of the major strengths in Malphurs book is that he advocates for the implementation of mission and vision statements for churches. He assists the churches in identifying their core values and principles. He knows that churches fairs differently in different places and hence emphasis on the need for each church to develop its own strategic plan. He emphasizes on the value of professionalism and quality in church activities. He provides supportive instruction for appraising the ministry and he insists on the importance of church discipline.
Marphurs’ book is very practical. He does not look for reasons in the bible to support every practice he disregards. He is clearly practical at times in aspects he think the bible does not stipulate a definite procedure. He provides excellent and useful principles for thinking tactically in the churches today.
One observable weakness in his advice is the exceptions of older women and men in the church committees and leadership teams. Here, he goes against Paul’s advice in the bible to have the older mentoring the younger ones. The experience of the elderly people in the church cannot be underplayed.
The other weakness of this book is that it targeted the larger and wealthier churches and hence the smaller and financially unstable churches have less to draw from this book. It is also difficult for churches operating schools to apply some of Marphur’s principles.
There are various concepts used in this book which are very significant. The idea of leadership is quite important when it comes to managing the church affairs. The kind of leadership a church adopt through it selection process in quite important when it comes to formulating the church’s goals and objectives. These leaders must support the planned strategies otherwise, it is destined to fail. Hence, we have to be very cautious when choosing our church leaders.
Strategic planning is another important concept used in the book. Strategic planning is the process through which the church establishes its mission and come up with the necessary measures it will take in order to achieve its mission within a specified period of time.
The importance of carrying out strategic planning is that it leads to formulation of realistic goals and objectives which are consistent with the mission of the church. It also makes it easy to communicate the church’s goals and objectives to the new community members and ensures that resources are utilized effectively by directing the resources on the key priority areas. Strategic planning makes it easy for the church to deal with problems as they encounter them in the process.
The other important concept when it comes to strategic planning is communication. The leaders need to communicate properly with the church members when carrying out the process because it is imperative to make them trust the process. If there is no trust among the members then you cannot lead them.
The other concept is major goals of the church which drive the ministry. The core values of the church clarify why it does what it does or why it does not do what it is supposed to do. They also represent the true identity and composition of the fundamental ministry. It is hence paramount to discover and evaluate your core values in the light of biblically working, religious healthy church. Identification of core values is critical to development of a spiritual healthy church and examples include service, preaching, and worship and community instruction.
The other concept is mission which serves to give the direction of the church in terms of what your church is doing and where it is supposed to be going according to the scriptures. It is important to develop and continually communicate a short and precise church mission statement that your members can easily understand.
Vision is another concept frequently found in the book. Vision development is imperatives as it helps the members to see what God can accomplished through them in the ministry. Hence, the vision should depict a clear and convincing picture of the church’s future.
Malphurs, Aubrey. Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999.
 Malphurs, Aubrey. Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 45.
 Malphurs, Aubrey. Advanced Strategic Planning: A New Model for Church and Ministry Leaders. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 56.