Right now, there are churches across the country that are working on their “ministry theme” for the new year. They’ve gotten their Senior Leadership Team together to come up with a pithy statement that they can build a sermon series around and many have even built a campaign around this statement to make sure all of their key volunteers know the new statement for the new year. They may have even put it in a print piece, on their website, or even branded and purchased some swag to give away to support the theme.
You’ve probably seen churches do this. They build themes around baptizing a certain number of people, social justice and serving their community, “going deep” together through bible studies, building community through small groups, or some kind of generosity initiative to name a few.
Many churches even go so far as to call this their vision for the next year. Unfortunately, it’s not. It may be a ministry emphasis, a goal, or even a slogan but it’s not a vision.
“Make America Great Again” and “Stronger Together” were campaign slogans. Neither was a vision. Unfortunately, churches get stuck building and using “campaign slogans” instead of vision casting.
Vision isn’t a Statement it’s a Picture
Vision is a picture of the future, not a statement. Many churches spend an incredible amount of time wordsmithing vision statements instead of providing a clear picture of where they’re going.
Vision isn’t a Goal it’s a Destination
Goals are simply vision with a timeline. They are the actionable and attainable steps or objectives to be met that move the organization in the direction of the vision. You know you’re winning and moving in the direction of and reaching the vision when you are meeting your goals!
Mission Answers the Question: Why do we exist?
This is the timeless answer to why your church is on the planet in the first place. We don’t get to pick our mission Jesus did that for us. That’s the whole, “go and make disciples,” part. But we do get to pick language that contextualizes it for our culture.
Vision Answers the Question: Where are we going?
This is the next hill that needs to be taken. Vision typically changes every 3-5 years. Vision changes because once you get there and have taken then hill, there’s always the next hill to take.
Most church staff can’t articulate the next hill their church is taking. They don’t’ know the target on the wall they’re shooting for. One way to begin to bring clarity to the vision at your church is to simply ask the question,
“Where would we be in 3-5 years if our church faithfully lived out the mission Jesus has given us in the context of our community, unique culture of our church, gifting and passions of our Sr. Leadership, and resources that God has given us?”
Doing the serious work to answer this question will help you put a target on the wall to hit. Getting crystal clear on this will have a “trickle down” effect on every decision made in your church over the next 3-5 years. It will allow you to:
- Set goals and measure results.
- Determine how to allocate resources and budget.
- Help you understand how you need to structure your staffing model.
- Bring alignment to ministries.
Posted in Leadership