Not all vision statements are made alike. Some are better than others. Something someone taught me years ago (and I can’t remember who or else I would give them the credit!) is that all great vision statements have three characteristics. Although there is some subjectivity in evaluating a vision statement, I think these three qualities transcend all preferences.
YOUR VISION STATEMENT SHOULD BE…CLEAR
A strong vision statement should answer the following questions:
- What kind of disciple are you trying to make?
- What does success look like for your church or ministry?
- What will your church or region look like when everything is working properly?
- Are there Scripture verses that support it?
A clear vision statement should…
- Use simple language. Regardless of demographic or spiritual condition, individuals inside and outside your church should be able to grasp what the Lord has called you to do. An unredeemed 8th grader should be able to get it.
- Be cross cultural. You shouldn’t have to be a member of the church for 10 years or know “christianese” in order to understand where your ministry is headed.
- Be short enough to memorize. If it is, you can use it on promotional pieces like coffee mugs, t-shirts, etc.
YOUR VISION STATEMENT SHOULD BE…COMPELLING
Dynamic visions statements GRIP your heart and answer the following questions:
- What need or niche in the community has the Lord called us to meet? (see 1Cor. 12:14-26)
- Why is our mission important?
- Why are God’s help and all hands on deck needed in order to fulfill it?
A compelling vision statement should…
- Use gripping and colorful vocabulary. For example, instead of “making a difference” try “impact”. Instead of “growing” try “changing lives”. I often use a thesaurus to come up with better words than I can think of on my own.
- Have an outward focus. A compelling vision statement should have a “pinch” of the Great Commission in it (Matt. 28:18-20). It should be “other-focused”. A self-focused vision statement can contribute to such problems in a church as members not inviting unbelievers, hoarding their relationships and refusing to serve sacrificially. I think this is because the Lord seems to have wired into most people an innate desire to make a difference in the world.
- Stir the emotions and move the heart. A solid vision statement will basically convey: “Yah! Let’s go take THAT mountain for Jesus! THAT mountain is worth sacrificing for!”
YOUR VISION STATEMENT SHOULD BE….COMMUNICATED
I once heard Bill Hybels say that “vision leaks”. Just as the people of Israel would forget God’s faithfulness and their calling to a promised land, in the same way church members forget vision. Your vision needs to be communicated regularly for two reasons: people forget and newcomers are always joining the church (that is…if your church is healthy).
Here are some ways you can repeatedly communicate vision:
- Preach on it using Scripture to support it
- Sprinkle part of your vision into sermons throughout the year
- Market it through all communication mediums possible (worship folder, mailings, website, pens, coffee mugs, t-shirts, etc.)
- Talk about it in every meeting you attend
- Incorporate it into your membership class
- Push it out into the church thru your small groups or Sunday School classes
- Pray through it a lot
DISCUSSION QUESTION: Do you have a favorite vision statement? Where did you see it? How did it inspire you?
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