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Online · School of Divinity · Christian Leadership & Church Ministries

Mission, Vision, and Strategic Planning

  • CG
  • Section 8WK
  • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020
  • Modified 01/13/2020

Course Description

This course prepares the student for strategic planning in various ministry settings. It will also equip the student to cast a vision and mission for their church or parachurch organization. The student will examine core biblical passages and create a clear vision/mission/values statement. (Formerly DSMN 620)





The success of churches, institutions, and Christian-led businesses is dependent on leadership grounded in a biblically centered mission, motivated by a clear vision, and effectively led by strategic planning. Leaders across the country have been flocking to leadership seminars and conferences to learn how to lead in a more compelling and strategic manner. This course will equip the student in the discovery of mission, the communicating of vision, and the crafting of strategy. The implementation of these skills will be explored in a variety of venues including churches, institutions, and businesses.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Examine the biblical foundations of the strategic planning process.
  2. Differentiate between mission, vision, and strategy.
  3. Identify the principles for discovering God’s mission for an organization.
  4. Explain the process of developing a strategic plan.
  5. Examine the leadership abilities and actions necessary to realize vision.
  6. Evaluate the strategic processes of various churches and organizations.
  7. Develop a simple/memorable vision statement for a church or organization.
  8. Design a strategic plan to bring an organization’s mission into reality.

Course Resources

Required Resources

The resources below are provided in the course at no cost to the student.

Barna, George. The Power of Vision: Discover and Apply God's Vision for Your Life and Ministry-with Study Guide. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009.

Collins, Jim C. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2001.

Dockery, David S. Christian Leadership Essentials: A Handbook for Managing Christian Organizations. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2011.

Malphurs, Aubrey. Advanced Strategic Planning: A 21st-Century Model for Church and Ministry Leaders. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2013.

Warren, Rick. The Purpose Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message & Mission. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995.

Disclaimer: The above resources provide information consistent with the latest research regarding the subject area. Liberty University does not necessarily endorse specific personal, religious, philosophical, or political positions found in these resources.

Additional Materials for Learning

  1. Computer with basic audio/video output equipment
  2. Internet access (broadband recommended)
  3. Blackboard recommended browsers
  4. Microsoft Word
  5. School of Divinity Writing Guide:

Course Assignments

Textbook readings and presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (3)

The Discussion Board Forums in this course are completed in 2 parts over 2 modules/weeks. Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences.


In the first module/week that the Discussion Board Forum is assigned, the student must post a 400-word thread in response to the prompt provided. For each thread, the student must support his/her assertions with at least 2 citations in current Turabian format or the applicable style guide for his/her area of study. Acceptable sources include assigned readings, textbooks, and related materials.


In the subsequent module/week, the student must then post 2 replies of at least 200 words each in response to 2 other classmates’ threads. For each reply, the student must cite at least 1 source using his/her chosen style guide. Acceptable sources include assigned readings, textbooks, and related materials.

Blog Post

The student will draw from the readings of Barna’s The Power of Vision and the presentations from Module/Week 1 to draft a 750–1000-word blog post. The purpose of this post is for the student to effectively describe the elements of mission-driven visionary leadership. The post must have 2–3 citations in current Turabian format or the applicable style guide for the student’s area of study.

Book Critiques (2)

The student will read 2 specified, required books and then submit a paper for each. The student will summarize what he/she reads, critique and evaluate the work, and apply the work to his/her own situations. The papers must be 900–1,500 words (double-spaced), include 4–6 citations, and comply with current Turabian writing style or the applicable style guide for the student’s area of study. If using current Turabian style, the paper must use footnotes as needed.

Interview Assignment

The student is to interview a visionary leader of a church, institution, or business. The choice of leader must be relevant to the student’s intended occupational field. The leader’s understanding of his/her organization’s mission and vision for fulfilling that mission must be clarified. The student is to uncover how the leader initiates strategic planning. In conclusion, the student is to analyze what he/she has learned from this leader and make application of principles to his/her own future leadership. The paper must be 900–1,500 words (double-spaced), and comply with current Turabian writing style or the applicable style guide for the student’s area of study. If using current Turabian style, the paper must use footnotes if citations are needed.

Reading Reflections (2)

The student will read 2 required books and then submit a paper for each. The papers must be 600–900 words (double-spaced) for each book, include 2–3 citations using footnotes, if using current Turabian formatting. The papers must comply with current Turabian writing style or the applicable style guide for the student’s area of study.

Final Project

The student will create a comprehensive strategic plan that reflects his/her research from the textbooks and course materials. The paper must be 3,000–3,600 words (double-spaced), have a minimum of 10 citations (i.e. footnotes), and comply with current Turabian style or the applicable style guide for the student’s area of study. All of your required texts in the course must be incorporated along with other sources. The strategic plan must utilize all the course-required readings and, as needed, additional materials. The strategic plan will demonstrate the student’s grasp of the materials and the integration of those materials into his/her life.

Course Grading

Course Requirements Checklist


Discussion Board Forums


Threads (3 at 50 pts ea)


Replies (3 at 50 pts ea)


Blog Post


Book Critiques (2 at 100 pts ea)


Interview Assignment


Reading Reflections (2 at 50 pts ea)


Final Project





Late Assignment Policy

Course Assignments, including discussion boards, exams, and other graded assignments, should be submitted on time.

If the student is unable to complete an assignment on time, then he or she must contact the instructor immediately by email.

Assignments that are submitted after the due date without prior approval from the instructor will receive the following deductions:

  1. Late assignments submitted within one week after the due date will receive up to a 10% deduction.
  2. Assignments submitted more than one week and less than 2 weeks late will receive up to a 20% deduction.
  3. Assignments submitted two weeks late or after the final date of the course will not be accepted outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.
  4. Group projects, including group discussion board threads and/or replies, and assignments will not be accepted after the due date outside of special circumstances (e.g. death in the family, significant personal health issues), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the instructor.

Disability Assistance

Students with a disability and those with medical conditions associated with pregnancy may contact Liberty University’s Online Office of Disability Accommodation Support (ODAS) at [email protected] for accommodations.  Such accommodations require appropriate documentation of your condition.   For more information about ODAS and the accommodations process, including how to request an accommodation, please visit Requests for accommodations not related to disabilities or pregnancy must be directed to the Registrar’s Office, which generally handles medical needs support.

If you have a complaint related to disability discrimination or an accommodation that was not provided, you may contact ODAS or the Office of Equity and Compliance by phone at (434) 592-4999 or by email at [email protected].  Click to see a full copy of Liberty’s Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy or the Student Disability Grievance Policy and Procedures.

Course Attendance

In an effort to comply with U.S. Department of Education policies, attendance is measured by physical class attendance or any submission of a required assignment within the enrollment dates of the course (such as examinations, written papers or projects, any discussion board posts, etc.) or initiating any communication with one’s professor regarding an academic subject. More information regarding the attendance policy can be found in the Academic Course Catalogs. Regular attendance in online courses is expected throughout the length of the term. Students who do not attend within the first week of a sub-term by submitting a required academic assignment (such as the Course Requirements Checklist, an examination, written paper or project, discussion board post, or other academic activity) will be dropped from the course. Students who wish to re-engage in the course are encouraged to contact Academic Advising to discuss their enrollment options. Students who begin an online course, but at some point in the semester cease attending, and do not provide official notification to withdraw, will be assigned a grade of “FN” (Failure for Non-Attendance). Students wishing to withdraw from courses after the official start date should familiarize themselves with the withdrawal policy.

Grading Scale

A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- F
940-1010 920-939 900-919 860-899 840-859 820-839 780-819 760-779 740-759 700-739 680-699 679 and below

For courses with a Pass/NP final grade, please refer to the Course Grading section of this syllabus for the assignment requirements and/or point value required to earn a Passing final grade.

Add/Drop Policy

The full policy statement and procedures are published in the Policy Directory.

Honor Code

Liberty University comprises a network of students, Alumni, faculty, staff and supporters that together form a Christian community based upon the truth of the Bible. This truth defines our foundational principles, from our Doctrinal Statement to the Code of Honor. These principles irrevocably align Liberty University’s operational procedures with the long tradition of university culture, which remains distinctively Christian, designed to preserve and advance truth. Our desire is to create a safe, comfortable environment within our community of learning, and we extend our academic and spiritual resources to all of our students with the goal of fostering academic maturity, spiritual growth and character development.

Communities are predicated on shared values and goals. The Code of Honor, an expression of the values from which our Doctrinal Statement was born, defines the fundamental principles by which our community exists. At the core of this code lie two essential concepts: a belief in the significance of all individuals, and a reliance on the existence of objective truth.

While we acknowledge that some may disagree with various elements of the Code of Honor, we maintain the expectation that our students will commit to respect and uphold the Code while enrolled at Liberty University.

Adherence to the principles and concepts established within facilitates the success of our students and strengthens the Liberty community.

The Code of Honor can be viewed in its entirety at


LEAD 620

Textbooks: Barna, The Power of Vision (2009).

Collins, Good to Great (2001).

Dockery, Christian Leadership Essentials (2011).

Malphurs, Advanced Strategic Planning (2013).

Warren, The Purpose Driven Church (1995).


Reading & Study




Barna: Introduction, chs. 1–13

2 presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

Class Introductions

Blog Post





Malphurs: Introduction, chs. 1–7

1 presentation

DB Forum 1 – Thread



Malphurs: chs. 8–14

2 presentations

DB Forum 1 – Replies

Book Critique 1




Warren: Introduction, chs. 1–10

2 presentations

DB Forum 2 – Thread

Interview Assignment




Warren: chs. 11–20

2 presentations

DB Forum 2 – Replies

Book Critique 2




Dockery: Introduction, chs. 1–6, 11, 13, 16–17

1 presentation

DB Forum 3 – Thread

Reading Reflection 1




Collins: chs. 1–9

1 presentation

DB Forum 3 – Replies

Reading Reflection 2




1 presentation

Final Project




DB = Discussion Board

NOTE: Each course week begins on Monday morning at 12:00 a.m. (ET) and ends on Sunday night at 11:59 p.m. (ET). The final week ends at 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Friday.