If you’re like many churches, you and your leadership team have developed a vision statement that defines who you are—or who you want to be—as a church community. And perhaps, like many churches, it’s displayed on your website, written on your printed materials, and even routinely shared within your congregation.
However, is your vision evident in every aspect of your ministry? Do your policies, procedures and budget reflect your vision? On occasion, I’ve asked pastors to not send me their vision statement but allow me to look at their job descriptions, policies, budget and staff handbook to see if their vision rises from the pages. Sometimes the differences are astounding.
From your handbook to your financial planning, if the vision doesn’t permeate all your printed materials, human resources, finances and administrative areas, then it’s, well…just words.
What can you do to make sure your vision is the foundation of your ministry? Take your team through a simple exercise. Write your vision on a white board and identify the key points. Once identified, use those points as filters for your policies, procedures and budget. Don’t overwhelm everyone. Prioritize the areas you want to examine and take them one at a time.
For instance, if your vision includes reaching pre-believers as well as seasoned Christ-followers, does your budget express that in your expenditures? Where are you spending your monies? If you believe your vision is true, steward your finances in order to make it a reality. Perhaps it means reallocating money to different ministries.
If a key belief is that community plays an integral role, is your organizational chart created with community in mind? Are your ministries organized in a way that they express community as a major part of your vision? If you believe small groups are important to spiritual formation and most of your ministry is done in a large group or mid-size group setting, you either need to transition your vision or your organization.
Have you hired your staff or identified lay leaders that reflect the key directions of your vision? What about their job descriptions or annual goals? Are you measuring expectations from your team that reflect the vision? Or are you placing expectations on them that deal more with numbers alone or peripherals? You and your team should never be exempt from living the vision of your church. If serving is an integral part of your vision, be a servant leader. Don’t be a leader who feels entitled to live outside the vision that you expect your congregants to live.
Whether your church is well established, transitioning or just starting, intentionally breathing your vision into every aspect of your ministry will infuse new life. Using your vision as a filter for everything you do—from ministry to policies—allows you and your team to stay laser-focused on what God has called you to do.