Determining a church’s vision must begin with an intentional initiative of prayer and fasting. Nothing clarifies vision like a season of prayer and fasting. Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness as he transitioned into the ministry he had come to accomplish. He comes out of the wilderness like a man on mission, and he certainly was. In Luke 4 Jesus goes to his hometown synagogue, reads out of Isaiah, rolls up the scroll and, as Mark Batterson says, “rolled up His sleeves” for the work.
The children of Israel were in Egypt and needed deliverance. They left the bondage behind to head towards their destiny, the promised land. The time in between was their development – the wilderness – where they not only got a change of scenery but also a change in focus.
Tony Evans describes it as “deliverance, development, and destiny.”
The writer of Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” The vision Jesus had for the “joy set before him” enabled him to persevere.
Do you have a vision statement for your ministry and your church? Vision is a battle plan for the future and it does not just happen by default. It requires much prayer, fasting, collaboration, and then implementing the vision you believe God has given your church. God has a specific plan, for a specific church, in a specific place, at a specific time. He has a preferred future for your church and a plan for you to follow. Begin with prayer but also do your homework by reading, listening, discussing, and brainstorming. Here are the remaining steps toward determining vision:
# 5 S.M.A.R.T. Realize that vision does not materialize out of thin air. Once you have a rough draft of what you believe your vision statement should be you need to S.M.A.R.T.en it up.
– Is it Specific and Simple enough to clearly paint the picture of a preferred future? Does it complicate where you are going or make it clear?
– Is it Measurable and Memorable? Does it describe what success will look like and can it be easily stated and remembered?
– Is the vision statement Attainable and Appealing? Does it require faith and Holy Spirit risk? Does it inspire people to be a part of the journey?
– Is your vision statement Relevant and Reliable? Does it speak to the your context and utilize your influence in your community? Is your vision consistent with your core values and does it represent those values well.
– Is it Time-sensitive and Timely. Does this help your congregation see the light at the end of the tunnel (“for the joy set before Him)? Does it respond well to the times you are in? Is it built upon the timeless truths of the scripture and delivered in a timely contextualized manner?
#6 Include key elements.
Does it have an outward focus of biblical evangelism?
Does it include a discipleship pathway clearly articulating necessary steps?
Does it include a leadership pipeline? In The Multiplication Workshop Dave DeVries states, “If you can’t reproduce disciples; you’ll never reproduce leaders. If you can’t reproduce leaders, you’ll never reproduce churches. If you can’t reproduce churches, you’ll never see multiplication!” It is a vision for healthy disciples, healthy leaders, and healthy churches.
Your vision statement should reflect your current ministries and the ministries you intend to implement. John Kotter says, “Clarify how the future will be different from the past and how you can make that future a reality through initiatives linked directly to the vision!” What passions do you as a church have? What unique gifts and abilities do your people possess? Where and how can you match those passions, gifts, and abilities with the needs of your community? Ask leaders in key positions what your church can do to help them the most.
#7 Connect people to vision. Determining how your people will connect to the vision statement to your entire congregation. Remove as many fears and concerns as you possibly can by reminding them that with God all things are possible. What does collaboration look like in your context? How will you get buy-in? Who will you have to move forward without? Make sure you cast your vision repeatedly because you cannot overstate it. Now is also the time to begin assessing and evaluating your progress by continually asking good questions:
Am I headed in the right direction?
Am I on track and making progress?
What do I need to tweak and what do I need to change?
What words would touch a nerve ending and create excitement better?
Realize that it begins with a first draft that develops into a rough draft, but it takes a long time to become the final draft. Be prepared to rewrite the statement over and over because good writing is bad writing with good editing. Seek input from your leaders by asking them to fell free to state it, restate it, and state it over again.
Do you have a clear picture and understanding of where you are going? Can you see a clear path God has set before you? Does it stir people to action and create a desire to be a part of the journey?
“Write down this vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” (Habakkuk 2:2)
Copyright © 2021 by Larry Barker @ https://healthychurchpodcast.com/. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.