Strategic planning has become a viable process for many organizations over the last 60 years and is quickly becoming a common practice in faith-based organizations. Appreciative Inquiry as an approach to strategic planning has been found to be useful in organization development and change (Stavros, Cooperrider, & Kelley, 2003). However, few studies have looked at the application of an Appreciative Inquiry-focused strategic planning process in faith-based organizations. The purpose of this action research project was to design and implement a strategic planning process in a church using an Appreciative Inquiry approach. A triangulation of research methods (survey, direct observations, and interviews) was employed to describe and assess the impact of the Appreciative Inquiry-focused strategic planning process. The process resulted in a completed strategic planning document which captured what was working well--such as the church's historical status in the community and warm environment created by the membership to reach its goals of equipping the saints, engaging the community, and enlarging its territory. Another result of this study is that the Strategic Planning Committee remained engaged and excited about the planning process even after the completion of the planning document. Lastly, Friendship Baptist Church has become a planning church committed to thinking strategically about the future.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Research projects (MSOD); Appreciative inquiry; Organizational change; Strategic planning; Church management

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Lacey, Miriam;