Unlike traditional scenario projects, this project does not hinge on the interaction of the most critical uncertainties, but rather extrapolations of baseline trends (Hines & Bishop, 2006; Schwartz, 1991; van der Heijden, Bradfield, Burt, Cairns, & Wright, 2002). The purpose of this scenario set is to demonstrate how even the various interaction of baseline drivers leads to different futures. Furthermore, this scenario set paints a disheartening view for the future of the association to prove a point: an interaction of novel, creative, and emerging trends may forecast a different set of futures for the association, but to neglect the contemporary issues that are clearly determining the future now is akin to adding a new coat of paint to a wall supported by termite-infested beams.
Though the terminology used is exclusively aimed at Baptist associations, secular associations are not immune from the principles that will be exposed through the scenarios. The design of the project has one underlying goal: spur conversation about the future of associations by confronting current reality.
The drivers chosen for this exercise are a slight modification of those trends presented above. Alluding to the membership-centric model, one driver will be based upon why a church chooses to become a member of the association? On one end of the spectrum, the church has an historical affinity to the association because the pastor or leaders have past experience with the denominational structure. On the other end of the spectrum, the church is drawn to the association based on their missional affinity—or agreement, alignment and support of what the association does. The other driver examines levels of contributions given by member churches, contrasted by low contributions and high contributions. By examining the interaction of these two drivers, the scenario set tells four different stories of fictional Baptist Associations.