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Bringing Class to the Future

by Frank Spencer, Nov 18, 2006

spencer_lMy name is Frank Spencer, and I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and tell you a little about my experience as a mid-career professional in the Master of Strategic Foresight (MSF) program at Regent University.

I live in Savannah, Georgia, I’ll be 42 this coming January, and have been married to Sherry – my wonderful wife – 20 years this coming March. My wife and I have 2 boys (15 and 12) and 2 girls (9 and 7). I have served as a worship leader, student minister, and pastor of a non-denominational church for approximately 12 years. This has been an experience that had both incredible highs as well as its share of lows!

In late 1999, I began to be drawn to “futures thinking,” primarily in regards to my ministerial lifestyle. This quickly evolved into a broader view of foresight possibilities beyond the confines of church settings. It was then that I realized how closed I had actually been to God’s larger call to action in every quadrant of human activity.

Over the next few years, I studied “futures” independently, and this allowed me access to the teachings of those who had been practicing in the field of foresight extensively. It was during this time that I developed a futures foundation, as well as a desire to apply it to both personal and occupational domains. Wow – what an eye-opener!

I learned of Regent’s Masters of Organizational Leadership with a minor in Strategic Foresight at Regent in early 2005, and was led to apply to the program (an extended story with some great Divine intervention!). I was accepted to the program and began my first semester in the Fall of 2005. It was shortly thereafter that the Masters of Strategic Foresight (MSF) was launched, and I transferred into it in the Fall (2006).

I have since met several other students who are in the distance learning program as well, and I have presently been able to take about half of the core courses required for the MSF. I am also meeting new students entering the MSF on a continual basis, and this influx is bringing about an exciting growth to the futures community at Regent University.

I am now finishing my fourth semester in the MSF, and I have found the program to be very challenging and enriching in terms of foresight and futures thinking, as well as providing in-depth instruction that paves the way toward practicing professional futures in organizational and societal settings. Many futurist methods are explored and modeled through “hands-on” projects, and the program is extremely academic as well.

I have personally seen a greater transition toward complexity and diversity thinking in my own life as I view personal, organizational, and even ecclesiastical domains. This has increasingly opened a whole new world to me in terms of impacting multiple drivers in society rather than simply being locked into a more linear or “closed-system” view and practice of human systems.

Personally, I have been interested in creating sustainable structures as well as transitional development globally, and I (along with several others individuals) created a network in late 2000 that acts as a “launching pad” for future thinkers, trans-modern faith communities, and social initiative enterprises that are creating aspirational and preferable futures.

This program has helped me to advance the Banner Community through access to foresight strategists, their areas of expertise  and the new foresight theories and methods they promote. I also look forward to practicing futures in a professional setting while continuing to build the network. I would even like to teach futures at the collegiate level someday.

msf_90For anyone looking to broaden their view of the future, or who may need to help others find creative and innovative ways to prepare for emerging issues within their organization or community – I would highly recommend considering the Master of Strategic Foresight.

Update: [In 2009, I started my own foresight consultancy called KedgeFutures.] Please keep in touch with me. Check out my blog focused on “Bringing Aspirational Change and Transformational Futures to Individuals, Organizations, and Society through Strategic Foresight.”

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