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Strategic Planning: Business Model Case Study

During a recent strategic planning process, Calvary Baptist Church, a large congregation with three large campuses, explored a significant strategic shift (using standard business models for churches) in its value proposition.

The planning team asked these questions: “Is our business model changing? Is the way we deliver value to our customers going to be different in the future than it is today based on changing demographics? If it’s changing, what would it look like?”

The following figure illustrates the church’s current business model, called the attractional model, in which the value proposition is targeted at baby boomers being part of a big corporate body of like-minded individuals. Certainly, other demographics are represented, but the average age of the congregation is 50 to 60.


This customer segment expects front desk service to have somebody answer questions. Big congregational offerings and endowments generate revenue. The church staff delivers on the value proposition through two to four large campuses that produce large events weekly. The cost structure of staff and facilities maintenance support these activities.

The next figure illustrates a possible future business model, called the missional model. Under this model, the value proposition targets Gen X and Millennials who want to be part of a small, intimate, relevant community. This intimate community can be established in an attractional model, but it’s hard to deliver on given the infrastructure and key activities aren’t structured to do so.

Specifically, communication networks of hundreds of locations, including schools, homes, and universities instead of massive campuses, distribute the missional model infrastructure. Built-up staff competencies deliver key activities of community building instead of event production. Lastly, the cost structure is centered on technology and revenue streams, like smaller donations and fundraisers.

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