I’m noticing something in our staff that might be relevant to your church. Our staff is hungry. They want to see progress and action.
Over the last two years, it has felt like we’ve been playing defense—mask mandates, closings, what to say or not to say about this or that political situation, appeasing angry people, and on and on.
We’ve been playing a lot of defense. I’m sensing that our staff wants to go on the offensive. They want to grow their ministries and take new ground.
Maybe you’re feeling the same.
I’ve seen this hunger in our budgeting process. I know that probably sounds weird, but what I mean is that through reviewing each of our ministry teams’ budget proposals for the next ministry season, I am seeing energy for new initiatives, programs, ministries, and activity. Our people want to take new ground. Every ministry requested more money to pursue more ministry.
This is fantastic! I’m so grateful that after such a long and disappointing season, our staff is energized and excited about ministry. However, I believe this energy comes with a risk. It’s a risk that is also facing your church.
The risk is that each ministry might run in a different direction. Why? Because each ministry has a different vision of what progress and taking new ground looks like in this season.
The risk is that each team will pursue a different vision. And if that happens, ministries will begin to compete rather than cooperate.
What’s needed in this season is a clear, unified vision. A compelling vision of the future that incorporates every ministry and every team.
I believe one of the most important things you can do in this season is communicate a clear and unified vision to your staff, your volunteers, and your church as a whole.
“This is where we are going.”
“This is what matters most right now.”
If you’re able to do this, you could harness pent up energy and unleash it in a singular direction. That could be powerful.
If you’re unable or unwilling to do this, each ministry or team will run in whatever direction they feel is best. I’m telling you, a year from now you will have alignment issues that leads to competition instead of cooperation.
So, what’s your vision? Where does your church or ministry need to go in this season? As you consider this question, here are a couple of strategies that have served me well when it comes to vision.
VISION IS DISCOVERED
In my experience, vision is discovered through listening. It is discovered through listening to the voice of God and listening to the voices of others who are deeply involved in the ministry of your church.
If you feel unclear about where your church or ministry should head in the next season, I encourage you to spend extra time with the early church in the New Testament.
Read through Acts and read through Paul’s epistles. Whatever your church is called to in this next season will align with the mission and activity of the Church in the New Testament.
Secondly, pursue exploratory conversations with key staff and volunteers. Ask them, “Where do you think God is leading our church in this next season?” Listen to them.
You might be tempted to think that the people you lead will question your leadership if you don’t already know what the vision should be.
“Why are you asking me? Shouldn’t you be telling me?!?”
In my experience, asking questions and genuinely listening to the input of the people you lead generates more confidence and trust in your leadership.
All I’m saying is this: The vision your church needs in this season will likely be discovered through the Scriptures and inquisitive conversations with key leaders in your church.
VISION IS SIMPLE
A clear and compelling vision for the future of your church must be simple. It can’t be complex or confusing. The best advice I can offer is that your vision should be singular. One thing. Not two. Not three. One thing.
Our vision for this season is this: “Shift 2 degrees”
By this we mean that each ministry needs to shift what they are already doing 2 degrees toward those who don’t yet know Jesus. By two degrees, we mean small tweaks.
Our vision is not “shift 2 degree and grow young and improve worship engagement.” It’s not even “shift two degrees and grow young.” It’s just “shift two degrees.”
It’s simple. It’s only one thing.
I would encourage you, as you explore the vision for where your church needs to go in this season, keep it simple. Keep it focused. Just one thing. If you do this, I believe your entire church can make significant progress in whatever area you feel God is leading you.
Vision matters in this season because your staff likely has a ton of energy for progress and movement. This is a really good thing! But, all that energy is also a risk because your team could end up in competition. Perhaps your greatest task right now is to communicate a clear and unifying vision for your church.