"I don't have a vision for my church and don't know how to get one."
Sad words spoken to me by a pastor friend a few months ago. The church he leads has been in decline for over a decade. He's the third in a string of pastors during that time. The latest news I have heard is pretty bleak.
As my church's "Lead Pastor" part of my responsibility is to not only get God's vision for our church, but to communicate it to our leaders and to the congregation. It's that pastoral role Paul wrote to Timothy about, saying, "Exhort...". Exhortation is really a form of encouragement, and that's what clear, God-given vision does for a church: it inspires and encourages. It's the idea God communicated to the prophet Habakkuk.
A recent request for questions from my church about how and why we do some of the things we do revealed to me something that I needed to hear: Vision leaks. Many of the questions indicated the askers didn't understand the "Why"s of our church. And if the "Why"s aren't in a firm grasp by the flock neither will be the "How"s.
That gave me clear direction as to the initial series of this new year. I usually spend the month of January doing some vision-casting and encouragement, challenging the church to take on the new year with a renewed commitment to Christ, His Word and His family. But it has been a while since I went through our Vision Statement* point by point with clarity.
Our church has many young believers. Leaders of a growing church can sometimes forget that unless doctrine and values are frequently addressed those who are new to the faith can't understand. And those who are older and have been around awhile tend to forget.
So the first 6 weeks of the New Year will cover our church's vision. We began Sunday, January 2. The question cards were a wake-up call to me, and I'm excited not only to hear the "reveille", but also to urge the "troops" to "charge" and because Jesus' vision for the church is clear, to never hear "retreat".
*To read our church's Vision Statement go to our web site, click on the "About" tab and then "Core Values".