Clear Creek Community Church in Houston has an Invitation for Everyone in the 4B Area

Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision

When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless. I like to say that your church really doesn’t need a vision statement, it needs a visionary state of mind. Yet, there needs to be a way to cultivate that state of mind. Your team does need some ideas on paper to become a sort of “mental charging station” for themselves and other leaders.  Think of a vivid vision statement as “base camp” for the team to assemble around, in order to take “vision casting treks” and “meaning excursions” all day long; that is the daily work of ministry.

So how do you get this vision thing right? What does success look like?  I answer the question for you in my new book God Dreams. More than that, I created a step-by-step guide for church teams.

To inspire you along the way, here is a case study from Clear Creek Community Church in Houston, TX, led by Bruce Wesley. Before we jump into their “An Invitation for everyone in the 4B Area” vision, let’s clarify what it is we are looking at.

First, it is a vivid description example of a long-range vision or what I call a “beyond-the-horizon” vision. Many have abandoned thinking long as discipline as a result of the constant changes of culture and technology. But for the church, there are many foundational reasons why leadership should think long-range. Here are twelve of them.

Second, it is only one fourth of what you need to have a complete visionary plan. This is the start – the long-range context to visionary plan. There are three other horizons to develop and the plan is eventually anchored in four immediate action initiatives in the next 90 days. To see the model for visionary planning check out how the Horizon Storyline works.

Clear Creek Vision: An Invitation for Everyone in the “4B Area”

We hope to establish ten campuses of Clear Creek Community Church in the 4B area. The 4B area is from the Beltway to the beach, from the Bay to Brazoria County, home to 500,000 people, 55 percent of whom consider themselves “nones.” That means when more than half the population checks into the hospital or talks religion around the water cooler at work or completes their census form and they are asked about their religious preference, they choose “None.”

How does a person who claims “none” come to love and trust Jesus Christ? We believe hope swells for people who consider themselves “nones” when they have a trusting relationship with a person of genuine faith who is fluent in the gospel. That’s when a self-identified “none” is most likely to consider the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So we are committed to see everyone who claims a religion of “none” to have no more than one degree of separation between them and a gospel witness who attends a Clear Creek campus in the 4B area, who will invite them into a community of faith where they will have repeated opportunities to hear and experience the amazing love of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The only way this saturation of trusting relationships will happen in our lifetime is through planting campuses and churches in close proximity to where people live, shop, work, play, and go to school; where followers of Jesus see themselves as missionaries sent to build bridges into people’s lives with God’s life-changing love rather than religious people judging others or seeking refuge from the world.

We start campuses in the 4B area, we multiply groups into every neighborhood, and we collaborate with other churches. We also plant new churches in the greater Houston area as launching pads for the people who are running into every dark corner of our city with the light and love of Jesus Christ.

As a result, God’s redemption can spread like a wildfire of hope across our coastal plains. And at the tipping point where one person in ten is a genuine Christ follower, then the culture will change: mommas and daddies will stay together, our children will thrive with a spiritual and moral compass to find their way, and people will hold their heads high in the marketplace because they do business as unto the Lord, and generosity will abound so people have what they need and no one will go to bed hungry. If God moves this profoundly in our area in our lifetime, then other followers might take responsibility for people in another part of the city and cry out to God with faith, “Do it again, Lord. Do it here among us, too.”

Church: Clear Creek Community Church, Houston, TX

Pastor: Bruce Wesley

Vision Templates: Geographic saturation

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Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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