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 Auxano, the team I lead dedicated to developing a unique vision for every local church. Before we jump into our “20/20/20 Watershed Year” 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.
Auxano’s Vision: The 20/20/20 Watershed Year
Summary: The year 2020 will be a watershed year marked by having served leadership teams in 20 percent of North America’s evangelical churches; that is, forty thousand church teams will have tasted breakthrough clarity of vision.
Every church unengaged by a strategic outsider is stuck somewhere. Somewhere in the fog of busyness and stupor of “done-for-you resources,” vivid vision is lost.
Yet we envision a watershed year in 2020 for our team’s contribution to the local church in North America. We will have seen God’s favor open so many doors to work with churches that a tipping point will have occurred. The story of these churches will be unstoppable. They will report about the new armies of everyday visionaries and renewed strategies for redemptive movement.
Our dream is that the good news of clarity will multiply. We see pastors sharing their Vision Frame on a napkin with other pastors. We see Horizon Storylines on whiteboards creating questions and conversations that stretch the imagination and stir the heart. Because of the widespread use of our tools, the year 2020 is the year we lock our legacy. Most church leaders will be helped in our lifetime—some directly and many indirectly—as a result of the first 20 percent becoming more clear, focused, and free in their ministries.
The influence of our Auxano name in 2020 will ensure an “I can’t believe we get to do this” career for dozens of staff navigators. We will have maximized our six-service toolbox in order to maximize the potential of every church we serve. The team of servant-oriented thought leaders we have formed today will then be forged into a collaborative world-class team.
While difficult to measure, we will put our hand on the pulse of our tipping point impact: 20 percent of evangelical church teams (forty thousand teams) will have tasted breakthrough clarity of vision. One out of every five churches will be free from the cage of photocopied vision and instigating a jailbreak for others.
The fingerprints will be seen from tools downloaded, blog posts devoured, books written, training conducted, nonemployees certified, and most importantly, teams served on-site. With God’s favor this watershed year will ensure overflowing blessing to the churches we serve and families that support our calling.
Church: Auxano Consulting, Houston, TX
Leader: Will Mancini
Vision Template: Need adoption addressed through leadership multiplication