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Be careful not to confuse vision with mission. Whereas vision deals with a desired future, mission is the plan of how to get there. In this usage, mission could be thought of as the community’s philosophy of ministry, or as a means of answering the question “what do we do?” It should be realistic and based on the assets that the community already has access to. This will help the community move into a place of balance in their endeavor towards the new vision.[1] Having this firm mission in place will help the congregation avert the tendency to slip back into anxiety and seek out easy, fast fixes. The mission reminds the community of what it is doing, in the same way as the vision reminds them of where they are going.[2] This clear philosophy of ministry helps guide the work of the community and avoid the pitfalls of passive aggression, rebellion, power struggle, and detachment from the community and its goals.[3] Your mission also allows you the benefit of boundaries, giving the church community and the leadership the courage and opportunity to say yes to opportunities that fit into the mission, and no to those that do not.[4]

[1] Friedman, Edwin H, Generation to Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue, New York: Guilford Press, 1985, 197.

[2] Steinke, Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times, 154-5.

[3] Richardson, Ronald W, Creating a Healthier Church: Family Systems Theory, Leadership, and Congregational Life, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996, 93-6.

[4] Barna, The Power of Vision, 112-3.

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