Sunday, August 01, 2004

Visionary v. Faithful

Joe Missionary has a blog swap with Spy Journal. I'm not sure how to reference the recursive nature of his blog swap, whose is it any way. I like this posting on Joe Missionary by Spy Journal, and I wanted to expand on a particular topic. I agree there is some worthy management techniques, but we should be careful how we go about employeeing these techniques and embracing these techniques. That issue in particular that IMHO needs expanding is the development of church vision statements. In the 80's and 90's there was a lot of seminars, books, training sessions on building vision in the business environment. Often times this was merely a lot of hype about having a directed discussion which made people a part of the process. While discussion and dialog are good ways of envigorating thinking, of course not everything everyone says can be the direction of the organization. Not everyone has sound ideas and not everyone should direct the group.

How does someone develop mission and vision?

Mission

Starting with a mission statement, a church does not develop its mission, it is something received from Christ the head of the church through His inspired Word. I used to attend a church that brought in an outside consultant to help develop its mission statement. After a lot of questionaires, small group meetings and discussion, the church leadership developed a mission statement which said,"...blank church...mission is to glorify God by building Biblical disciples". Not a bad statement, but I really beleive that making Biblical disciples is a core mission for all churches. There was not nothing distinctive about this statement in comparison to other Bible beleiving churches.

Vision

In regard to vision statements, not every congregation needs a transcending vision that stretches every one. Some churches are stable in their life cycle. The members are regulars. The hopes for growth are limited by populations of the community. Such churches are good and glorify God. But planting a new church which seeks to reach the unreached for Christ does need vision; vision and strategy. When Paul was seeking to reach the Romans "he long to come unto them" and "often planned to come unto" them, but was prevented. God gave him vision to "preach where Christ had not been preached before". Rather than being built on a vision building techniques used by the business world, I believe that the man of God who is called to establish a new work needs a burden from the Lord to do the work. The effort must be bathed in prayer. These pioneers who do things like plant churches or establish Bible translation missionary organizations are those who I call driven by their calling. Those who maintain an established work, day in and day out are what I call faithful to their calling. The visionary is driven by the burden to preach God's word where it has not been preached before. The pastor who is faithful to his calling cares for the people in fair and bad weather alike. God has given different gifts to the body and both of these are essential. Those who have a burden for a new work do not necessarily have a clear written statement, but they do have something clear in their mind that they can communicate to others. Vision statements are helpful if leaders use them to communicate to the group where they are going. If stability is all that is called for, then a vision statement is merely management fluff. Those who do not need a vision statement should ignore the fad. Those have a vision for a new work of God may benifit by clarifying that vision in the form of a statement and build understanding of that vision through directed discussions and gaining insights from the wisdom of the group.
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