I remember the days as a lead pastor when word-smithing a vision statement was of the utmost importance. Once crafted, I would post it everywhere a person may have the opportunity to read it (including the back door of the stalls in the men’s bathroom). I wanted people to memorize it, understand it and quote it at a moment’s notice. I think I may have been the only one who met those expectations.
Vision statements, regardless of the innovative language, do not equate vision movement.
I have seen some pretty nifty vision statements plastered on church walls and printed in bulletins. I have listened as leadership teams told me how many hours they spent creating their sticky vision blurbs. I am not knocking vision statements; if you have one, roll with it. However, a vision statement alone will not cause vision movement, regardless of the innovative language used.
Your vision statement should answer these three questions:
1. What are we called to do as a church?
2. Who are we called to reach?
3. What makes us unique?
If you can measure it, you can grow it.
Vision statements are important; however, the statement alone will not result in movement. Statements are stationary. They are created to be printed, read and bring identity to an organization. Despite the crafty and inspiring language often found in these statements, there’s one thing missing that is absolutely necessary to bring movement to a vision: vision metrics. You have to understand the metrics of a ministry (attendance, baptisms, financials, etc).
1. Where are we today?
2. Where do we want to be in the next few years?
3. What must be measured and monitored to move forward?
Wrapping metrics around a vision allows you to measure it; and if you can measure it, you can grow it. It also gives permission to ask the right questions and identify what needs attention. If you stop looking at the numbers, the vision will slowly drift into left field and by the time you notice it, consequences are inevitable.
Vision Statement < Vision Map
So what’s the answer in terms of vision? Instead of creating a vision statement, think about gathering your team together and creating a vision map. Ask the right questions and collect the right data to get clear perspective of where you are right now. Next, ask the questions, “Where do we want to be in one year, two years, five years?” Again, it’s important to look at the current numbers and then determine where you believe you’ll be in the next few years. Don’t be afraid to dream. God loves dreamers.
Once you have identified several vision metrics (current and future), you’re ready to begin building strategic plans that will fuel and propel the vision.