I was with a well know pastor years ago who was very gifted at preaching. He invited me to lead his church through a 9-month Vision Pathway. As the journey progressed I realized that his gift for communication on Sunday morning kept him stuck as a visionary. Why?
Preaching should never be the only or even the primary vehicle for vision.
Our mental framework of church is so captive to what happens on Sunday morning, that this principle may sound strange or even crazy to some. But let's explore the other vehicles that wonderfully expand and increase the delivery of your vision.
Let's start with one vehicle of vision that is more important than the preaching event. In fact, I would call this your primary vehicle for vision.
Vehicle #1 is your church's connecting environment.
Every good church will have some place (not worship services) that people connect relationally, whether it be small groups, adult bible fellowships, Sunday school, etc. Because this environment is the relational "point of integration," it is a more important delivery system for vision.
For example, Clear Creek Community Church plans on launching their third multisite this fall. While Bruce, the senior pastor, has talked passionately about it in worship, the most important delivery is when Jeff, my small group, leader passionately shares his excitement in his living room. More than sharing his excitement, Jeff explains why he is going to be a part of the multisite and invites us to do the same.
No some of you are still thinking, "Is that really the primary delivery system of the vision?"
Yes. And here's why.
#1 Jeff doesn't get paid to preach or cast vision for the church. Therefore his vision casting immediately carries ten times more weight and credibility.
#2 After Bruce's preaching on the next multi-site initiative, people will talk about it in the church's connecting environment. (The scary thing is that people will talk about it with brutal honesty, much more than the pastoral staff realizes.) And, most people will be influenced by the dominant tone in the group. Therefore group dynamics are the most important factor in interpreting and validating the vision.
#3 Every pastor should hope that people grow in their awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vision. But this simply can't happen without dialogue. Dialogue requires time and relational investment. Since the church is already investing into some connecting environment, doesn't it make sense to use that as the primary vehicle? Consider Bruce and Jeff. There is no way that Bruce can dialogue with every person in the church. And Jeff is already building relationships and dialoguing with 12-15 other people in a weekly basis.
So if you want to maximize your vision's...
- Credible source
- Meaningful tone
- Validating presence
- Positive interpretation
- Growing awareness
- Deepening understanding
- Increasing appreciation
You better stop relying on your worship experience to be the only or even primary vehicle for vision.
How are you delivering vision via your church's connecting environment?
Now remember, we have several other vehicles for vision for you to consider. Stay tuned for some follow-up posts.