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Institutional Intelligence


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Table of Contents

1. The Meaning of Institutions
2. Mission Clarity, Part 1: Affirming the Institutional Charism
3. Mission Clarity, Part 2: Discerning Institutional Identity and Purpose
4. Governance That Works, Part 1: Making the Right Things Happen
5. Governance That Works, Part 2: Finding Wisdom, Making Decisions
6. The Right People: Recruit, Develop, Empower
7. A Dynamic Institutional Culture: Fostering Hopeful Realism
8. Financial Equilibrium: Making Economic Sustainability a Priority
9. A Place to Be: Creating Built Space
10. Strategic Partnerships: The Synergy of Collaboration
Appendix A: Boards and Presidents
Appendix B: Institutions are Good for the Soul
Appendix C: An Institutional Intelligence Essential Reading List

About the Author

Gordon T. Smith is the president of Ambrose University and Seminary in Calgary, Alberta, where he also serves as professor of systematic and spiritual theology. He is an ordained minister with the Christian and Missionary Alliance and a teaching fellow at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of many books, including Courage and Calling, Called to Be Saints, Spiritual Direction, and The Voice of Jesus.


"I've known Dr. Smith for over thirty years, and throughout those years he and I shared the ups and downs of our institutional journeys. Evidently institutional intelligence was not always present! I'm thrilled that Dr. Smith has written this book in which he was able to reflect creatively on what constitutes the right building blocks for a healthy institution. In doing so, he amazingly succeeded in weaving in crucial themes from the nonprofit world, connecting them to Christian values and offering down-to-earth insights on how to implement them. The 'Individual and Group' exercises at the end of each chapter provide a helpful tool to make this book a workbook. I highly recommend this book to all church, seminary, and nonprofit leaders."--Riad Kassis, international director, International Council for Evangelical Theological Education, director, Langham Scholars Ministry, Langham Partnership
"This book engages one of the most important and yet inadequately addressed changes unfolding all around us: widespread disillusionment with, if not outright rejection of, institutions. And this disillusionment is characteristic of both the larger cultural context and the subcultural context of churches and parachurch organizations. Gordon Smith addresses the challenge head-on with the insight of a theologian, the experience of an organizational leader, and the realistic hopefulness of a thoughtful Christian. Supposed 'reflective practitioners' too often disappoint. Smith does not. He provides both richly insightful analysis and constructive, applicable principles and practices with which institutions may thrive. Not just identified 'leaders, ' but both friends and foes of institutions, along with the people they serve (which is all of us), would do well to learn from this book."--W. David Buschart, associate dean, professor of theology and historical studies, Denver Seminary
"We can be walking among ruins without realizing it. Our buildings might stand tall, with shimmering glass or towering spires, but the institutions they house are eroding. Whether it's our cynicism or our fixation on individual 'authenticity, ' our commitment to institutional maintenance has suffered. And as a result, mission suffers, because institutions are how we channel energies and sustain common work. This is why Gordon Smith's book is so important. Drawing on rich theoretical insight and years of lived investment in institutions, Smith has written a veritable handbook for the future of faithful work. I can't imagine anyone who shouldn't read this."--James K. A. Smith, professor, author, editor, Comment magazine

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