A couple of weeks ago, I began a series involving what I think it takes to be a successful church planter with a post entitled “Are You a Planter or a Poser?” Apparently, it struck a chord with quite a few folks. If you missed it, you can catch it HERE.
Today, I want to continue that series with a few thoughts and musings I have gathered along the way from various sources on the topic of VISION. I will give credit to those I remember…the ones I forget, I will chalk up to the Fall’s effects on my memory.
Let’s start with a simple definition I think I got from Andy Stanley.
A Vision is a picture of what COULD BE with the conviction that it SHOULD BE.
Needless to say, I really like that definition since I chose it as the one I am choosing to share with you. In fact, though I don’t agree with Andy on a variety of topics, I believe that he is one of the BEST teachers on this topic and I highly recommend his Leadership Podcast . You can listen to a short talk he gives on vision once you subscribe in iTunes. I also really like his books Making Vision Stick and Visioneering on this topic as well.
So, now that we know what Vision is, where do we get one?
Well, since I am most interested in planting churches, “the Bible” and “Jesus” are good choices for answers.
I mean “The Bible” in the sense of “God wants to expand His Kingdom through the local church and He has plenty to say about what that looks like…” more than I do “I found this obscure verse that now means I should move my wife and kids over there and start a church…” though I do believe there should be a very spiritual component involved which we will eventually discuss but not today. That would be my “Jesus” portion.
As we read Scripture and figure out what a church is, why churches matter, who should lead them, etc., we are then ready to do the hard work of “contextualization” homework to figure out how to best plant one of God’s churches in a given community and ask ourselves if we are, indeed, the men for the job. Again, other posts for other times.
A biblical vision for planting a church starts with the Scriptures and should be informed by its context. It will include a “mission statement” and some handles to make it “memorable and portable” and should be easy to remember and share. It should create passion in its hearers and inspire then to commitment and sacrifice. Like it or not, it is one of the most important elements of an effective local church.
Once you establish that vision clearly, it can serve you in so many ways. Here’s just a few:
- Gives you goals to pray and work toward.
- Lets you know what success and failure look like.
- Gives you a filter to run all of your decisions through (e.g. Does “this” help us accomplish our goal? If so, we will consider it. If not, no thanks.)
- Gives you something to call your people to.
- Lets your team do all the things I just mentioned as well.