Vision...

A vision is a clear plan for the future as it could or should be. It is an ideal future for the church and the community around it. It must be clear and oriented towards the years and decades to come, depicting a future that does not already exist; by its very nature, vision expects change. “Vision is never about maintaining the status quo. Vision is about stretching reality to extend beyond the existing state.[1]” But a vision must be informed by a realistic understanding of where the community is, where it has been, and what assets (ABCD) are available to the community.[2] This application of ABCD will help start to shift the narrative of the congregation from what it lacks to what it possesses.[3] An unrealistic vision, disconnected from the reality of the church, is just as dangerous as no vision at all. The vision for the church should be a God-inspired hope for the future, which takes into account what God is already doing in the church and what ways God has already blessed it.

This should not necessarily be a unilateral act on the part of the senior-most leader(s). The leaders of the community ought to invite the church into the process of visioning, this will look different for churches of different polity and structure, but the idea remains the same. Leaders should establish conversations inside of the communities. Some churches might use town halls, committees, small groups, focus groups, or roundtable discussions. Before a vision is constructed, it is important that the leader(s) have a strong understanding of the church’s history, context, process, skills, assets, and struggles – rather than operating off of what they think they know.

[1] Barna, George, The Power of Vision, Ventura, CA: Regal, 2003, 29.

[2] Ibid., 33-4.

[3] Sawyer, David, Hope in Conflict: Discovering Wisdom in Congregational Turmoil, Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim Press, 2007, 123-4.


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