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 NewBreak Church in San Diego, led by Mike Quinn. Before We jump into their Waves of Transformation 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 Newbreak, 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.

 Newbreak Vision Before:

Newbreak had great language in their culture but not shared vocabulary around a vivid description. One of my favorites phrases that they use is "shaking the planet." Phrases like these can be motivational but are ultimately limited by the generic nature. And by the way, there are nine common forms of generic church vision. Newbreak leaned toward the "change the world" and "reach more" kinds of generic vision.

NewBreak Vision After:  Waves of Transformation Vivid Description

In the next decade we will raise up hundreds of guides who will in turn take thousands of people on the journey of a lifetime. Not a vacation but a transforming adventure: a biblically fueled, Spirit-inspired, and relationally charged leadership development process. The adventure will focus on Jesus and our twelve marks of following Him. 

Why leadership development and why now? By God’s grace thousands of men and women call Newbreak home. We now have five campuses—strategic mission posts spread throughout our region. But San Diego County is a place with hundreds of unique community identities. From refugees on the run to displaced transplants to an always mobilizing military, our corner of California is dying from spiritual starvation, and it’s increasingly adrift on a sea with no rudder.

Therefore our leadership development itinerary will not stop until thousands of people become agents of bold change, serving their surrounding communities with authentic love. We imagine dads enjoying their children, marriages welded together, and coworkers radically concerned for one another. We see neighborhoods turned upside down by the unexplainable kindness of Newbreakers. We envision hundreds of small groups as life rafts pulling people from an ocean of crowded loneliness. We see dozens of beachheads in our city’s niche neighborhoods, with platoons of skilled and loving Newbreakers moving in to start new campuses and empower new causes. The impact of each campus will be measured by positive community transformation. And we won’t stop until we blanket our city with an ever-growing network of campuses on mission.

What’s the Newbreak vision when you boil it all down? It’s a wave of leadership development that brings a wave of community transformation that brings a larger wave of leadership development that brings an even bigger wave of community transformation. There’s nothing like watching a swell build from the vantage point of the cliffs in Ocean Beach. That’s what we see as we look at communities from a development perspective. Can you see it?

What we do through Newbreak in our lifetime will shake the planet, from here to the farthest points in the world.

Let’s make some waves.

Church: Newbreak Church, San Diego, CA

Pastor: Mike Quinn

Vision Templates: Leadership multiplication that results in targeted transformation.

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