Thinking about the Future of Your Church: Scenario Planning Post-Pandemic

November 9, 2020 - December 11, 2020
Nov. 9 - Dec. 11, 2020

An Online Class



Nov. 9 – Dec. 11, 2020


In this course we will learn about, and practice with, a method for preparing to engage the future called scenario planning. Scenario planning works well when you want to consider what your church, non-profit, etc. might look like 3-10 years into the future, usually beyond any current strategic plan you may be implementing. Scenario planning helps to reduce the uncertainly and lower the risk for organizations. It also provides a way to dream about new ways of doing things. As organizations begin to consider what they will look like after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, scenario planning can be a powerful tool to engage as a next step.

This course has three primary learning outcomes:

  1. To gain a basic understanding of the key concepts in scenario planning.
  2. To practice some of the techniques and methods of scenario planning.
  3. To explore the link between scenario planning and strategic planning.


Jim Downey is a senior strategy consultant for Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He most recently served as the vice president for planning and institutional effectiveness at PTS as part of a 30-year career in higher education.

Jim consults with colleges, universities, and non-profit organizations and teaches various online courses, including introductory physics. He also works with the Society of College and University Planning as a professional development facilitator. Additionally, Jim is active in a variety of capacities including anti-racism work as both a workshop facilitator and presenter and serving on the board of Bridge to the Mountains, a non-profit assisting people through street medicine and related services. Jim holds a graduate degree in nuclear physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology and a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Illinois. He also was a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Jim has broad background in national security policy, systems thinking, organizational theory and culture, change management, strategic & facilities planning, higher education administration, and institutional effectiveness.