When you are creating or casting church vision statements, it is essential to consider a prophetic vision that articulates the future of the church.
What is a church vision?
The vision is where you are heading – “we will be/see..” Vision is future-orientated and focuses on where we are going. A church vision is an idealistic dream, so it inspires and speaks to the heart. A vision is ‘seen’ with eyes of faith and is ‘felt’, bringing shape to tomorrow. The vision reveals the destination, to be steered and moved towards.
What is a church vision statement?
A church vision statement articulates the destination and direction for the church to move towards. It is the God-spoken future for the church and the ultimate goal for success. It answers the question ‘where is the church going?’
Why is a church vision statement important?
It brings a clarity on the long-term destination that God is leading the church, helping leaders make decisions today.
What does a healthy vision statement bring to a church?
- A vision statement paints a picture of what the successful apostolic mission looks like.
- It clarifies church cultures that must be non-negotiable.
- It guides the selection and development of church structure so the right people and programs are in place for success.
- It enables the strategic setting of wise goals, targets and objectives that align with it.
What happens if a vision statement is lacking?
There could mean there is be no target to aim for, or defining picture of what success looks like. There can be organisational drift and leadership that comes from a place of reaction, rather than intention. There could be disunity and confusion because of an unclear or non-existent guiding picture.
How do you develop a church vision statement?
- Review the key prophetic words over the church. What has been repeated? What has been prophesied the most? What words have come through with the most authority, or feel the most significant? These will need to shape your vision.
- Write it as a team. This ensures that other perspectives shape it, making it better thought through. It will also be owned by the team that have input into it. Clearer language will be another benefit, which helps with articulation and communication.
- Answer the key question. Where are you heading? What do you want to see? What do you want to be like as a church? What seems to be the dream of God for your church, when you factor in prophetic words. “We will be/see” is a good example of how a vision statement could begin.
- Write in a future and aspirational tense. It’s a dream or desire, so something you should be aiming for. If it isn’t futuristic, it could be a mission statement instead. It’s also a destination – somewhere you are navigating towards. It’s a going statement. It isn’t an observation, or an action, or strategy, or method, or ‘doing’ statement.
- Be broad yet specific. Be specific enough to communicate the general sense of direction and ultimate feel of the destination, but broad enough that whilst you may say generally some things you’ll do, you don’t fall into the trap of laying out specific methods and steps of how you will succeed. If you have words like ‘by’ or ‘through’ then you are flirting with producing a strategy statement. As your church changes seasons, you will want to revisit methods and strategies whilst keeping vision-led. If you lock yourself into specific methods, you could fall into a trap of being activity or structure-led out of season.
- Speak plainly. Don’t use Christian jargon or theological terms. If a twelve-year-old, a new Christian, or a non-christian wouldn’t understand it, you need to simplify it.
- Get the majority buy-in. You might not get everyone to like what you come up with, but if you get the majority of those involved in the process, that will be key to ensuring the mission statement has sufficient backing to be accepted across the church.
Vision Statement Discussion Starters
When creating or casting church vision statements, some questions will help us articulate our vision, which in turn will determine whether the vision is ‘caught’ or not. Because vision is such a key part of healthy church life, the more of these questions you can discuss, the more likely it is that the vision will ‘stick’. The clarity in vision makes a significant difference in how the people in your church will engage.
Vision: What is the Need?
What is the problem being faced? Is it an adversary, or a situation? What needs to change and seems insurmountable? What are the consequences that will be faced if nothing changes? Speaking to a fear of loss sometimes provides a wake-up call or call to action – the reality check that leads to people facing up to the situation and making the necessary changes.
Vision: What is the Promise?
What are the benefits? What good will come out of this successful vision? How will life be better? Not church – but life and existence. How will the world be better, and how will tomorrow be a happier time?
Vision: What is the Call?
What is God saying? Why is the time now? What is the urgency? What does action look like today, right now, this moment?
Vision: What is the Challenge?
What requires faith and adventure like nothing before? What will compel them to take risks, make sacrifices, and work together in new and deeper ways?
Vision: What is the Act of Worship?
What pleases the heart of God, as an act of worship and commitment to Him? What steps are steps of adoration, wrapped in faith and love, and bring honour to His name?
Conclusion: Church Vision Statements
Church Vision Statements are more than just words spoken or written down. They bring life, energy and impetus to the people. They bring clarity to the future and should be a faith-manifestation of the heart and promises of God to the church. Creating a church vision that ensures you articulate what it is God is leading you into as a church is essential to building a healthy church.
This post is part of a series on Healthy Principles For Church Organisational Structure. You can see links to the others posts in this series here.
- What constitutes a healthy church organisational structure?
- Be clear on the difference between mission and vision
- Develop a mission statement
- Develop a vision statement
- Develop a core values statement
- Develop a leadership structure
To find out the current health of your church in these areas, I have developed a free church health assessment. You can take it by clicking here.