Let’s Be Clear
We’ve all heard that it’s important for a church to have a vision statement. Let’s face it, people have been talking about how pastors need to cast vision and explain purpose for as long as you can remember.
The vision is a clear and challenging picture of our future. The vision statement inspires our church to pursue our mission. The vision touches and flows out of the hearts of the church members. Our vision is what we want to look like. It’s long term and it’s BIG.
Vision is a statement of the aspirations and dreams of the church. Vision gives us something to strive and press towards. The vision is the “mark” or the goals of the church. The church should never have low vision or no vision at all, but rather high and lofty vision, with a constant dependence on Christ to bring to pass what we have set our sights on achieving.
Lakewood’s leadership team will be spending some time in prayer asking God what He wants to do in our church and in our community. At this time, we don’t have a specific vision, yet all of us know that God can and will work miracles in the Body of Christ called Lakewood UMC. It’s a huge mistake to start talking about strategy and procedures before we clarify the “why”. We’ve got to nail down that big vision. Our church needs that deep sense of why and we should be able to communicate it in one sentence. That’s our vision statement.
Here’s a definition of a vision statement…
Vision Statement (Desired End-State): A one-sentence statement describing the clear and inspirational long-term desired change resulting from church’s work.
…and then take a look at some examples I came up with…
- To make disciples of all nations.
- To see those far from God raised to new life in Christ.
- To plant the gospel in our community and from that seed, grow disciples for Jesus Christ.
- To be a solid community of people with passion, who impact and influence the world with the Kingdom of God.
- To be continually cultivatingreal, caring relationships with unbelievers, planting seeds of God’s love and truth, growing in Biblical wisdom and reaping conversions as God brings the harvest.
The vision statement inspires us to pursue the mission. The vision touches and flows out of the hearts of every church member. Our vision, not our programs or ministries, should drive the church.
Our vision is never going to be accomplished. Think about it. We’re not going to get the leaders together one evening and say, “Well everyone, guess what? We’ve gone into all the world and everyone is a disciple.”
We’ll always strive for it. It will always guide us, but we’re never going to be done accomplishing the task. That’s why we need a second statement. One that’s more about this current season of ministry. One that’s just as inspiring, but much more now oriented.
If our Vision Statement describes our “Desired State”, then Our Mission Statement is the “What We Do” to get there:
The mission statement is God’s universal unchanging plan for His church. It is “what” the Church is about and why it exists. It informs us about our reason for being. We use this statement to guide decisions about priorities, actions, and responsibilities.
Lakewood United Methodist Church exists to bring others to Christ (Bring them in), equip people (Build them up), to love and serve our church, community and world (Send them out). Lakewood UMC’s Mission Statement
Our mission is always in service to our vision, it defines how we will fulfill our vision – how do we get there, what do we do, and for whom do we do it.
For our church to grow in a healthy way, we have to communicate both eternal purpose and our ever-present mission.