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One vision…One voice

Honestly, vision is a word that is overused. For many, the mere mention of the “v” word causes the eyes to glaze over as the reader imagines another round of motivational speeches that amount to very little for the organization. Vision books and seminars are everywhere, and many already have cool phrases on their walls or church bulletins. But does it really matter?

A vision that moves your congregation does.

You see, after awhile every organization expands to the point that its activities and departments can take on a life of their own. So in the church, the youth group has their own unique direction, while the women’s group is going another way. The children’s ministry has chosen their focus and the senior adults have established their own routine. Everybody’s going somewhere, but nobody’s really going the same direction.

The result is a “silo” mentality–everyone doing what is right in their own eyes. Like the people of Israel in the book of Judges, they really need a king. And vision is that king.

When a church identifies its true vision, the first benefit is found in bringing everyone to the same page. Imagine the synergy that could happen if the same passion drove the youth group and the women’s group. Sure, they’ll express it differently and at various volume levels, but when an entire church knows what they are reaching for, they can begin reaching for it together.

Vision statements that try to capture everything we do, actually help us very little. They reinforce the silo mentality because everything we’re currently doing seems to fit under an umbrella that’s too wide to function effectively. You see, a vision statement must do more than affirm what we do. It must also reveal what we won’t do and won’t take time to chase.

For other churches, vision statements just try to creatively restate the mission. Yes, we will “love God and love people” but something in our vision statement has to point us in a specific direction. Imagine if Moses’ vision statement had been “We want land!” Well, they were surrounded by lots of land and he could have led the people in any direction and insisted he was chasing the vision. But it was a specific land–a Promised Land–that served as the destination for Moses’ vision. They passed up a lot of land on their way to THE land. In the same way, a vision that moves us has to speak to a more specific destination.

When a church knows its true heart and its capacity for effective ministry, its ministries can begin to re-orient themselves around that vision and begin walking together, rather than pulling in different directions. How amazing would it be if we are all trying to go to the same place!

Vision is critical. It’s absolutely necessary before there can be shared vision. And, shared vision is what brings momentum to the ministries of a church. It’s worth the effort every time!

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