In 1954 Annie Wilkins embarked on an impossible journey from Maine at the age of 67. She had no money, no family, and she had just lost her farm. Her doctor had given her about 2 years to live. But Annie wanted to see the Pacific Ocean before she died. She rode her horse and had her dog by her side. This was before GPS, so she depended solely on the hospitality and friendly help of strangers all along the journey. Annie’s story is told in the book, The Ride of Her Life.
Traveling to new places is fun and enlightening. Following Christ is exciting and rewarding. And leading a church to go where they’ve never been before is also an adventure. But often, it is a difficult one.
The Way I See It…
Every church needs a road map that tells where they are headed. A vision statement answers a key directional question for a church: where are we going? Here are 4 key areas to think over in drafting a vision statement.
- Going Power -Healthy churches engage their local community, not wait for the community to come to them. Dream about what your community would look like if your church had maximum impact on it. What needs would you meet? What changes would need to take place? What tangible difference could you make?
- Growth Spurts – The church is made up of individual Christ followers that should be maturing in their faith. Consider what behaviors or perspectives God wants to transform in the congregation. What miraculous changes in marriages, relationships, choices, lifestyles, etc would bring glory to God? What is lacking in the consistent obedience of knowing, being, or doing?
- Leadership Equipping – To move a church forward sometimes involves a learning curve for leaders. What new leadership do we need to install that we don’t currently have? What plan is in place to identify, train, motivate, encourage, and multiply leaders in our church? What would be the greatest win to see happen among church leaders in the next 7 years?
- Culture Change – Identifying areas of attitudes or behaviors that need to change is the first step in shifting the culture. Who are we compared to who God wants us to be? What values are lived out, not just lip service? What would make for a more engaging experience for outsiders and their assimilation into the life of the church? What needs to change that would make a huge impact for Christ going forward?
Traveling to a new destination doesn’t mean you have to go clear across the United States to see the Pacific Ocean. It is possible to take a small road trip and discover things you’ve never seen before. The point is the church should be always moving forward. So where does God want to take your church next? Where are you headed?