Agreeing on a clear vision helps you empower others to lead and carry out ministry. It’s also a lot easier to get everyone pulling in the same direction if there’s agreement on what you hope to accomplish. A clear vision will:
- Set expectations and foster unity
- Help facilitate decision-making that impacts your future
- Create a framework for defining ministry priorities
- Attract talent (both volunteers and staff) and financial resources
- Define success for your ministry
But just “making the vision plain” is not enough to keep people focused on it or to equip a church to accomplish it. Both your team and your people need to be reminded frequently of what the vision is and where you’re going next. This isn’t just a communications task; it has to do with how your team fundamentally operates. The communications aspect of rallying a church around your vision is a really difficult (impossible may be a better word) task if you stop with simply defining it.
Once your vision is clear, here are three questions you will need to answer:
1) The Strategy Question:
How will we accomplish the vision?
Your vision may be the destination you see for your church, but your strategy helps you determine what action steps you’ll actually take to get there. It helps you prioritize programs, events and ministries and cut everything that is not in line. Churches get stuck after clarifying the vision because they never define a clear strategy for reaching it.
2) The People Question:
Who’s on the team and what are their roles?
With a clear vision in place and core strategies outlined, you can easily see gaps—and excess—on your staff team. For your plans to be realized, you will need to have the right people in the right roles. You will need a structure that supports the development of your staff. Strategies fail when no one owns the action steps, or when the people who own them are ill-equipped to follow through.
3) The Systems Question:
How do we streamline what we do to improve our effectiveness?
Every action plan needs systems for accountability. As your church grows, every individual ministry also needs systems to ensure people are well cared for and the ball doesn’t get dropped. Good systems keep your strategies on track. Without them, your staff will always drift towards focusing on the urgent.
You’ll notice that underlying each of these components is the need to invest your time and energy into a comprehensive planning process, not just a process to define your mission or vision statement. Few churches take that next step to answer the “How?” and “Who?” questions. And that’s one major reason vision leaks.
ABOUT TONY MORGAN
Tony is founder and chief strategic officer of The Unstuck Group, a company that helps churches get unstuck through consulting and coaching experiences designed to focus vision, strategy and action. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church in Dallas, Georgia, NewSpring Church in South Carolina, and Granger Community Church in Indiana. He’s written several books, as well as articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com. He writes about leadership regularly at TonyMorganLive.com. His next book, The Unstuck Church: Equipping Churches to Experience Sustained Health, will be available from Thomas Nelson in April 2017.