The Power of Clarity in Your Church’s Vision

Tears were streaming down his face as he silently wept:

“I can see it so clearly… I just haven’t had the ability to put it into words… which makes people think I don’t know where we are going.”

Clarity is powerful.

One of my most favorite things to do through my work with Church Simple is to help church leaders clearly communicate what it is that they are called to… and then helping them do it.  In this case, the process was incredibly moving.

I am becoming convinced that the church in this country is not lacking of vision… it is the rare church leader that does not have a vision for where God is taking them.  What I think is missing in many churches is a sense of clarity when it comes to that vision: a way to express it clearly, concisely, and with authority.

Vision statements can be incredibly powerful tools to rally your congregation around your calling… or they can be incredibly obtuse statements that make people yawn in powerful new ways.  The difference is how you approach crafting your vision statement, and whether you are making a statement, or calling to action.  I fully believe that we have been called to action by the great commission and great commandment… and should be calling our people to action as well.  With this in mind, here are four qualities of a great vision statement:

  • Vivid.  Paint a picture.  Be clear about where you are going and what it will look like.  If your people do not fully understand what your vision statement is calling them to, you will never achieve it.
  • Inspiring.  I am sick of boring vision statements.  If you want me to fully invest myself in the vision and mission of your church you need to call me to something bigger than myself, something worthy of the time, talents, and treasure that I will be sacrificing in order to make it happen.  Don’t tell me what we are, tell me where we are going… and make it a big deal.
  • Memorable.  The school that I worked with in Baltimore had a vision statement that took up a full sheet of paper (actually they had two, posted on opposite walls… but that is a bigger problem for another time).  If you were to ask teachers, administrators, or anyone involved in the school to recite, or paraphrase, either of those statements you would have gotten a blank stare.  Your vision statement needs to be clear and concise in order for it to be memorable.  Vision statements that aren’t memorable are worse than having no vision statement at all.
  • Preachable.  If you can not point back to your church’s vision statement during your sermon on a regular basis it is useless.  The power of a vision statement is its ability to clearly define who you are as a church and where you are going.  If you are not referring back to it regularly, it may be time to ask yourself whether you, and your vision, are headed in the same direction.

What makes YOUR church’s vision statement great?

If you are looking for more thoughts on church vision, you need to check out what Will Mancini is up to, or buy his book.  Either way, this is too important to not do well.

Read more from Matt here.

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Matt Steen

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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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