January 20, 2016

Vision Statement Case Study: Cuyahoga Valley Church “Slavic Village Restoration”

Vivid church Vision Slavic Village Restoration

Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision

When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless. I like to say that your church really doesn’t need a vision statement, it needs a visionary state of mind. Yet, there needs to be a way to cultivate that state of mind. Your team does need some ideas on paper to become a sort of “mental charging station” for themselves and other leaders.  Think of a vivid vision statement as “base camp” for the team to assemble around, in order to take “vision casting treks” and “meaning excursions” all day long; that is the daily work of ministry.

So how do you get this vision thing right? What does success look like?  I answer the question for you in my new book God Dreams. More than that, I created a step-by-step guide for church teams.

To inspire you along the way, here is a case study from Cuyahoga Valley Church in Cleveland, OH, led by Chad Allen and Rick Duncan. Before we jump into their “Slavic Village Restoration” vision, let’s clarify what it is we are looking at.

First, it is a vivid description example of a long-range vision or what I call a “beyond-the-horizon” vision. Many have abandoned thinking long as discipline as a result of the constant changes of culture and technology. But for the church, there are many foundational reasons why leadership should think long-range. Here are twelve of them.

Second, it is only one fourth of what you need to have a complete visionary plan. This is the start – the long-range context to visionary plan. There are three other horizons to develop and the plan is eventually anchored in four immediate action initiatives in the next 90 days. To see the model for visionary planning check out how the Horizon Storyline works.

Cuyahoga Valley Vision: Slavic Village Restoration

Summary: In the next five years we will pursue the radical transformation of Slavic Village, one of America’s hardest-hit foreclosure markets, through a kaleidoscope of missional initiatives with the dream of a complete renovation of an entire neighborhood block.

God is graciously allowing us to participate in His work to see a city block in a decaying community restored. Our city-block restoration vision is guided by our mission of inviting people to new life in Christ. We are motivated by the message of Isaiah 61:4: “They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.”

We have adopted an urban area just north of us, Slavic Village, as a community where we want to focus our resources for restoration. In the words of Acts 1:8, it’s our Judea. Why Slavic Village? In the summer of 2007, according to RealtyTrac, Cleveland’s 44105 zip code, Slavic Village, was the hardest hit community for foreclosures in the entire United States.

We will seek a holistic approach toward restoration in Slavic Village and issue a full-court press of ministry partnerships, church planting, missional engagement, and community enrichment from tutoring kids to job training for parents to fruit-and-vegetable giveaways for all. We collaborate with many others and mobilize our people to bring stability and hope for the future for hundreds of families in the name of Christ.

In 2016, we hope to be working with many area churches to renovate two to three houses on a city block in Slavic Village. In 2017, our dream is to restore five to six houses. Ultimately we want to see an entire block restored, renewed, and filled with the hope of Christ.

Church: Cuyahoga Valley Church, Cleveland, OH

Pastors: Chad Allen, Lead Pastor and Rick Duncan, Founding Pastor

Vision Template: Targeted Transformation by means of Crisis Mobilization

 

>>>> Buy God Dreams >>>>

January 18, 2016

Vision Statement Case Study: Brushy Creek Baptist Church “Christ-Centered Parenting”

BrushyCreek

Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision

When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless. I like to say that your church really doesn’t need a vision statement, it needs a visionary state of mind. Yet, there needs to be a way to cultivate that state of mind. Your team does need some ideas on paper to become a sort of “mental charging station” for themselves and other leaders.  Think of a vivid vision statement as “base camp” for the team to assemble around, in order to take “vision casting treks” and “meaning excursions” all day long; that is the daily work of ministry.

So how do you get this vision thing right? What does success look like?  I answer the question for you in my new book God Dreams. More than that, I created a step-by-step guide for church teams.

To inspire you along the way, here is a case study from Brushy Creek Baptist Church in Easley, SC, led by Jim Spencer and Nick McClellan. Before we jump into their “Christ-Centered Parenting” vision, let’s clarify what it is we are looking at.

First, it is a vivid description example of a long-range vision or what I call a “beyond-the-horizon” vision. Many have abandoned thinking long as discipline as a result of the constant changes of culture and technology. But for the church, there are many foundational reasons why leadership should think long-range. Here are twelve of them.

Second, it is only one fourth of what you need to have a complete visionary plan. This is the start – the long-range context to visionary plan. There are three other horizons to develop and the plan is eventually anchored in four immediate action initiatives in the next 90 days. To see the model for visionary planning check out how the Horizon Storyline works.

Brushy Creek Vision: Christ Centered Parenting

Over the next five years, we dream to inspire hundreds of upstate South Carolina families to make Christ-centered parenting their greatest achievement and highest priority.

Brushy Creek’s sense of urgency for the spiritual formation of families is stirred by our culture marked by a fanatical obsession with pleasure and prosperity. Upstate families consistently sail with misguided rudders; they have unknowingly gone off course in the name of recreation and have led themselves toward destructive crosswinds and unforgiving waves.

In the next five years, we will provide our community with gospel-centered, family-friendly, and application-driven programs matched by welcoming, clean, and state-of-the-art facilities. We will be a safe harbor for families to rest at port, as they will find restoration, supplies, and training needed to set sail again. We see an upstate armada of strong parents navigating together through the rough seas of daily living. We envision this fleet of Christ-centered families carrying a gospel banner that will introduce even more misguided men, women, boys, and girls to the good news of Jesus.

God Himself has promised life in His Son Jesus Christ; therefore, we know that the time is now for us to raise our sails, reclaim these wandering vessels, and bring them into port.

Church: Brushy Creek Baptist Church, Easley, SC

Pastors: Jim Spencer and Nick McClellan

Vision Template: Spiritual formation

 

>>>> Buy God Dreams >>>>

January 16, 2016

Vision Statement Case Study for Clear Creek Community Church

ClearCreek

Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision

When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless. I like to say that your church really doesn’t need a vision statement, it needs a visionary state of mind. Yet, there needs to be a way to cultivate that state of mind. Your team does need some ideas on paper to become a sort of “mental charging station” for themselves and other leaders.  Think of a vivid vision statement as “base camp” for the team to assemble around, in order to take “vision casting treks” and “meaning excursions” all day long; that is the daily work of ministry.

So how do you get this vision thing right? What does success look like?  I answer the question for you in my new book God Dreams. More than that, I created a step-by-step guide for church teams.

To inspire you along the way, here is a case study from Clear Creek Community Church in Houston, TX, led by Bruce Wesley. Before we jump into their “An Invitation for everyone in the 4B Area” vision, let’s clarify what it is we are looking at.

First, it is a vivid description example of a long-range vision or what I call a “beyond-the-horizon” vision. Many have abandoned thinking long as discipline as a result of the constant changes of culture and technology. But for the church, there are many foundational reasons why leadership should think long-range. Here are twelve of them.

Second, it is only one fourth of what you need to have a complete visionary plan. This is the start – the long-range context to visionary plan. There are three other horizons to develop and the plan is eventually anchored in four immediate action initiatives in the next 90 days. To see the model for visionary planning check out how the Horizon Storyline works.

Clear Creek Vision: An Invitation for Everyone in the “4B Area”

We hope to establish ten campuses of Clear Creek Community Church in the 4B area. The 4B area is from the Beltway to the beach, from the Bay to Brazoria County, home to 500,000 people, 55 percent of whom consider themselves “nones.” That means when more than half the population checks into the hospital or talks religion around the water cooler at work or completes their census form and they are asked about their religious preference, they choose “None.”

How does a person who claims “none” come to love and trust Jesus Christ? We believe hope swells for people who consider themselves “nones” when they have a trusting relationship with a person of genuine faith who is fluent in the gospel. That’s when a self-identified “none” is most likely to consider the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So we are committed to see everyone who claims a religion of “none” to have no more than one degree of separation between them and a gospel witness who attends a Clear Creek campus in the 4B area, who will invite them into a community of faith where they will have repeated opportunities to hear and experience the amazing love of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The only way this saturation of trusting relationships will happen in our lifetime is through planting campuses and churches in close proximity to where people live, shop, work, play, and go to school; where followers of Jesus see themselves as missionaries sent to build bridges into people’s lives with God’s life-changing love rather than religious people judging others or seeking refuge from the world.

We start campuses in the 4B area, we multiply groups into every neighborhood, and we collaborate with other churches. We also plant new churches in the greater Houston area as launching pads for the people who are running into every dark corner of our city with the light and love of Jesus Christ.

As a result, God’s redemption can spread like a wildfire of hope across our coastal plains. And at the tipping point where one person in ten is a genuine Christ follower, then the culture will change: mommas and daddies will stay together, our children will thrive with a spiritual and moral compass to find their way, and people will hold their heads high in the marketplace because they do business as unto the Lord, and generosity will abound so people have what they need and no one will go to bed hungry. If God moves this profoundly in our area in our lifetime, then other followers might take responsibility for people in another part of the city and cry out to God with faith, “Do it again, Lord. Do it here among us, too.”

Church: Clear Creek Community Church, Houston, TX

Pastor: Bruce Wesley

Vision Templates: Geographic saturation

 

>>>> Buy God Dreams >>>>

 

January 15, 2016

5 Emerging Traits of the Most Successful Church Planting

Emerging Trends in Church PlantingYesterday I met with ten church planters who are Houston’s best and brightest. These guys are getting ready to plant or have recently launched. They are tied into the Houston Church Planting Network, and residency programs of active church planting churches (like Clear Creek Community Church, my home church.)

Each of the guys went through their Vision Frame. Some even had completed their Horizon Storylines after digesting my new book God Dreams over the recent holiday. I was thoroughly impressed with God’s favor and anointing  on these church planters.

As they presented their visions over a two-hour window, I found myself noticing some surprising themes and common threads. I couldn’t help but sense that these are the traits of strong planters and strong church planting works of the future. Here are five emerging traits:

Trait #1: The Gospel is More Important than the Church Model 

The rising tide of gospel centrality is refreshing and needed in today’s church culture. While the gospel has never lost its potency and centrality, young planters look at the models of yesteryear wondering why the gospel was not as explicit as it should be. I heard the term “gospel fluency’ used liberally with these planters. They will start churches where understanding and applying the gospel as a way of life and a daily vocabulary is foundational. Their confidence in the gospel of Jesus trumps their confidence in church models around them.

Trait #2: The Trinity is Practically Present

I have never heard church planters more intentional in their references to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. While I might expect more “trinitarian intentionally” based on some faith tribes or theological backgrounds, the highly diverse group of leaders all made the three persons of our one God, practically present.

What do I mean by practically present? I mean that each planter assumed the essential role of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in their hope for the future, their life as leaders, and their work of disciple-making. I love how one planter referenced Jesus as our big brother (Hebrews 2:11-12) when he unpacked the role of the Trinity in preserving the church’s value of “Embrace family.”

church planting emerging traits of successTrait #3: Togetherness is Essential, Internally and Externally

When it came to articulating strategy, the word “togetherness” was used more than any other. Whether the internal ideas of “gather together,” “grow together,” and ‘life together” or the external ideas of “go together” and “partner together,” the church of God as a “people together” is here to stay.

But wasn’t the church always “together,” you might ask? Yes, of course. but don’t miss the point of the explicit motivational emphasis. These planters see isolation as hell– literally in the eternal sense–but also practically as a driver of brokenness in our personal lives and in our church models. The familial nature of the church is forcefully championed. When it comes to working with other churches and organizations, partnering is considered a non-negotiable strategy and kingdom value, not an option or possibility.

Trait #4: Multiplication is the New Normal, at Every Level

Simply put, in these planters’ minds  there is no such thing as a fruitful disciple that is not making other disciples. And there is no such thing as a fruitful church that is not making other churches. While the idea of multiplication is certainly not new, it has become increasingly front-and-center over the past decade. I believe we will finally see the integration of multiplication with this generation of planters.

The previous generation talked about it, but did not emotionally readjust their leadership scorecard. We have many leaders who agree with “multiplication’ but live out “addition.” These church planters, however, will walk the talk. By the way, the Exponential conference theme this year of “Becoming Level Five” will continue to drive this “multiplication vs. addition” conversation. (Exponential is one of the largest conference gatherings of church planters.)

Trait #5: Bold Humility is Expressed Uniquely

While it’s an exciting time to plant a church, it’s a difficult time to do so. People don’t just show up to their denomination brand or the new, non-traditional community church down the street, like they did in the suburban sprawl of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Church planting is simply hard work and is always a deeply relational labor.

Maybe that’s why I sensed an unusual boldness with these planters. They’re not faint of heart. Furthermore their boldness is marked with a refreshing humility.  When you add this passion to the fact that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all church anymore, the bold humility is expressed with such uniqueness. Each personality shines with a passion for Jesus in its own way. Praise God! These guys are my heroes.

January 14, 2016

Vision Statement Case Study: Harvest Church “Rural Relevance across the Mountain West”

Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision

When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless. I like to say that your church really doesn’t need a vision statement, it needs a visionary state of mind. Yet, there needs to be a way to cultivate that state of mind. Your team does need some ideas on paper to become a sort of “mental charging station” for themselves and other leaders.  Think of a vivid vision statement as “base camp” for the team to assemble around, in order to take “vision casting treks” and “meaning excursions” all day long; that is the daily work of ministry.

So how do you get this vision thing right? What does success look like?  I answer the question for you in my new book God Dreams. More than that, I created a step-by-step guide for church teams.

To inspire you along the way, here is a case study from Harvest Church in Billings, Montana, led by Vern Streeter. Before we jump into their “Rural Relevance across the Mountain West” vision, let’s clarify what it is we are looking at.

First, it is a vivid description example of a long-range vision or what I call a “beyond-the-horizon” vision. For Harvest, the timeframe is 10 years. Many have abandoned thinking long as discipline as a result of the constant changes of culture and technology. But for the church, there are many foundational reasons why leadership should think long-range. Here are twelve of them.

Second, it is only one fourth of what you need to have a complete visionary plan. This is the start – the long-range context to visionary plan. There are three other horizons to develop and the plan is eventually anchored in four immediate action initiatives in the next 90 days. To see the model for visionary planning check out how the Horizon Storyline works.

Harvest Vision: Rural Relevance across the Mountain West

Within the next ten years, Harvest will establish, renew, and strengthen the tangible value of “the local church” in communities within the five-hundred-mile radius of Billings, Montana.

Harvest is fueling the rural relevance of the local church across the mountain west by overflowing into rural communities especially where local believers perceive there is a lack of a viable, life-giving church. Harvest started in response to community planners who wanted to give the boot to the presence of the local church. Today we are ready to reboot the reputation of what God’s people mean to a community when we actually live life as though Jesus were living through us. We will accomplish this through culturally relevant worship and tangible community focus, so tangible that people are surprised by the love of Jesus through us.

We started in Billings, which is the trailhead of Montana. Now the Harvest brand will be the trailhead for hundreds of believers to start Christ-centered communities of hope and purpose across our vast landscape.

Church: Harvest Church, Billings, Montana

Pastor: Vern Streeter

Vision Templates: Institutional renovation that brings geographic saturation

>>>> Buy God Dreams >>>>