Goods News for the PCA, Bad News for the Strategic Plan: There is no S-Curve

Posted by Wes White

Hard Data and the PCA Strategic Plan

by Martin Hedman, pastor of Mission PCA in Los Angeles California

A foundational aspect of the PCA’s proposed Strategic Plan, to be voted on at this year’s General Assembly in about a week, is the “modified S-curve” presented on the first page of the Plan. The curve drawn in the middle of that first page is part of the section meant to create a perspective for planning. In other words, the perspective we are being asked to bring is one informed by a growth curve showing rapid growth early and slowing – even declining growth – later in an organization’s development. While the Plan does not explicitly say that this curve is precisely representative of the history of growth in the PCA, it certainly does imply it. The curve is presented in the context of noting that the PCA’s early growth occurred at a rate of 5-8% per year, while more recent growth has happened at a rate of 2-3% per year. The first page also argues that “slowed growth at least requires consideration of how we should best represent our Savior” and that we need to anticipate “needed change before a decline in the S-curve becomes precipitous.”

Hedman goes on to demonstrate that there simply is no S-curve, and thus there is a fatal flaw in the Strategic Plan.  See the charts and read the rest of the article here.

Posted by Wes White

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4 Comments

  1. Reed Here said,

    June 21, 2010 at 10:07 am

    Thanks Wes. Very helpful.

  2. David Gray said,

    June 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Faithfulness is better than life. And better than growth.

  3. Frank Aderholdt said,

    June 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Time to haul out the old cliche about the emperor having no clothes, strategic-plan wise. Sorry–couldn’t resist.

  4. Jack Brooks said,

    July 6, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Speaking as an outsider, I read this strategic plan and thought it was very skimpy on hard data. It isn’t enough to note that growth isn’t happening. It matters why, doesn’t it? Lack of growth due to an octogenarian congregation barely hanging on in a black neighborhood isn’t like the non-growth of a congregation with a lousy preacher. That isn’t like non-growth of PCA churches in an all-Arminian, anti-Calvinist religious culture (like central KY). That isn’t like non-growth of a congregation that hates outsiders and is all turned in on itself like an ingrown tumor. And that isn’t like a church struggling to survive in some region of the country where everyone is losing their job and moving away.

    Each one of those scenarios would call for a different corrective. I don’t see how a mega-plan can address all the different “church illnesses”, or local circumstances.


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