Vision Moves Your Church in these Four Ways

Vision is overrated. Too many leaders put too much weight on their vision and not enough on other important matters of leadership. Culture, discipline, accountability, and creativity are just as important as vision.

That being said, leadership does not happen without vision. Vision is meant to inspire, engage, and capture the heart. In the church, vision statements are common, but not enough of them move the congregation to action.

How do you know when vision is working? When it’s moving your church from what is stated by the leader to what is accepted among the people. What is accepted will become the culture and then move the people in the direction of vision. What does this movement look like? There are four important ways vision moves your church.

  1. From inward to outward. Vision works when the movement of the church shifts from inward to outward. Priorities change from personal preferences to selfless action. For example, through the vision of one of our local mission partners to serve the homeless, I’ve experienced my own shift away from being selfish with my time. Now I find joy in giving that time to them.
  2. From joyless to joyful. Another shift occurs with the tone of the congregation. A church embracing vision will do so with joy. Hopefulness replaces hopelessness. Care replaces apathy. Boldness replaces fear.
  3. From infrequent to frequentAttendance frequency is one of the biggest reasons churches experience a numerical decline. When a congregation embraces vision, the people start showing up more often and with more fervor. An increase in attendance frequency helps a church with giving, volunteering, communication, unity, and just about everything else.
  4. From comfort to sacrifice. A shift from comfort to sacrifice is perhaps the most important movement for shaping the culture. When a church is willing to sacrifice for the vision, most everything else will fall into place. Comfortable people don’t move. Sacrificial people are always looking for opportunities to do more for Jesus.

These four movements are important ways in which vision changes the direction of a congregation. Good vision will move outward with joy. Good vision will cause people to be more sacrificial with increasing frequency.

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Sam Rainer III

Sam serves as lead pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church. He is also the president of Rainer Research, and he is the co-founder/co-owner of Rainer Publishing. His desire is to provide answers for better church health. Sam is author of the book, Obstacles in the Established Church, and the co-author of the book, Essential Church. He is an editorial advisor/contributor at Church Executive magazine. He has also served as a consulting editor at Outreach magazine. He has written over 150 articles on church health for numerous publications, and he is a frequent conference speaker. Before submitting to the call of ministry, Sam worked in a procurement consulting role for Fortune 1000 companies. Sam holds a B.S. in Finance and Marketing from the University of South Carolina, an M.A. in Missiology from Southern Seminary, and a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies at Dallas Baptist University.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
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