The foundational assumption of my vision work is that the greatest growth challenge in the local church is the  redemptive passion of the congregation. Are people emotionally engaged with the mission of Jesus?

Therefore, in the process of discerning vision, I want to stoke the redemptive passion of the vision team itself.

Here is an exercise I used today. I asked each vision team member to share a person or experience that grew their awareness of Christ. Some stories were dramatic than others. But every answer contained a name and an act of initiative. In the process of hearing their stories, I secretly recorded their exact words for the acts of intentionality from the people who impacted them.  When they were finished sharing, I put the words on the whiteboard. Speaking of the people that touched them, they shared:

  • "They took responsibility for me"

  • "He adopted me"

  • "She came along side of me"

  • "He wouldn't leave me alone"

The sharing was very meaningful. We discussed how our lives today reflect patterns of this kind of initiative.  One observation that surfaces is that some people experience impact through long-term relationships with quiet presence while others through moments of bold, verbal initiative.

In order to stimulate movement toward boldness, I drew a diagram relating the time availability of a relationship (family is long-term presence, co-worker is mid-term presence, and a stranger is momentary).  The big idea of the chart is to show that if you have a short window of time, like an airplane ride, bold, verbal initiative is more important. The graph helps people appreciate the need for boldness and stimulates great conversation about missional living and evangelism strategy.