Too often vision statements are underappreciated or underutilized. In many instances, the focus on day-to-day tactics without transcending the immediate do, do, do mentality and having a longsighted view causes ministers to burnout, givers to grow weary, and when the cycle lasts too long, it contributes to the horrendous statistics of ministries that fail.
Leaders don’t realize they’re the solution to many burnout issues, many funding issues, or even many growth and retention issues. Without a clear vision statement, people don’t know where the church is trying to go, and who wants to follow a blind church?
There are so many examples in the Bible where Jesus healed the blind, and there are several examples in the Old Testament where the people didn’t have vision. Accordingly, we can assume, vision is an essential piece leaders have to cast in order to establish a followership.
Sometimes, when we read the story of Moses, it’s difficult for us to relate because the culture is different and because he was leading millions of people while we may be leading tens, hundreds, or thousands.
However, if we try to understand, we realize Moses had been given a vision from God that the Israelite people would be set free from Egypt. While they were being bruised, beat, and mistreated by the world’s strongest world power of the time, it was very difficult to see how the vision would take place.
When he followed God’s direction and spoke to Pharoah, plagues took place that were extremely uncomfortable to experience, but the vision gave Moses and the Israelites the motivation to persevere.
We get discouraged when we’re working towards goals too, and if we don’t have a vision, when we’re tempted, we may give up.
A Ministry Without Vision
Without a vision, there is no shared goal between the leadership and the congregants, so when issues surface like:
The church needs more funding
The church needs more volunteers
or, something else surfaces…
People are heavy sighing and have low tolerance because they don’t understand how their participation moves the mission one step closer to the grandiose puzzle that fits into an even bigger calling to please God. As a leader, you have to cast the vision, but how do you do that?
Here’s 7 steps…
1. Get Clear About Where You’re Going
It’s good to get the leadership together and do exercises like a vision board, visualization exercises, or just merely dreaming. You can start by asking something like, “If there were no obstacles, where do you see us being able to take this ministry?”
You want to visualize the problems you’ll eradicate thru the life of the ministry, some roundabout numbers of how many people you’d like to reach, and begin to visualize it to the point that all of your senses grasp the vision: you see it, feel it, taste it, hear it, and you feel like you’re there.
The genuine displacement that the vision can give from day-to-day obstacles or workloads can breath new life into tumultuous times. When everything seems like it’s not going as planned, you step aside, and reseat yourself in the vision. Remind yourself how your day fits into the grand scheme of where you’re going. In my opinion, displacing myself into my vision is mandatory to reinvigorate, and many other very successful ministries say the same thing. Here are some examples:
“If you don’t have a vision you’re going to be stuck in what you know. And the only thing you know is what you’ve already seen.” Iyanla Vanzant
“A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.” Rosabeth Moss Kanter
“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Warren G. Bennis
“You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things so that all the small things go in the right direction.” Alvin Toffler
2. Decide How Your Ministry Will Accomplish the Vision
The last thing you want is a vision statement that sounds like you’re going crazy because it seems absolutely unattainable. Break it down into attainable pieces. For example, if you plan to reach 1 billion people, your mission statement would demonstrate the “how”.
You could say, “Our mission is to reach 1 billion people and demonstrate God’s love to them by writing one article everyday on our ministry blog, distributing the articles and podcasts by ____, placing huge emphasis on our youth ministries (training leaders), and sending our missions across the world to speak to 10 congregations per year of 100 or more people.” Of course, that’s an example, but you want to have a clear breakdown of how you could execute the vision your leadership team have.
3. Write a Short Concise Statement that Says Where You’re Going and How You’ll Get there
After you’ve gotten a clear visual of where you’re going and how you’ll get there, create a brief 1-2 sentence statement that articulates this. You want the vision statement to be something memorable that your followers, leaders, friends, and family can pick up on.
Remember, a vision done right is like an elevator pitch. You can say it in a matter of seconds and the next person can comprehend what you’re trying to accomplish without much further explanation.
Some good Church vision statement examples:
It’s always helpful to analyze examples of vision statements that created viral cultures when you’re trying to create your own, so here’s a few:
- To continue growing, impacting lives and using technology and the arts to reach 100,000 people for Jesus Christ. (Newspring Church)
- Impacting 100,000 Phoenix area residents by the year 2020. (Christ Church of the Valley)
- We not only want City on a Hill to be famous for being all about Jesus, we want the person and work of Jesus to be famous in our city. This fame begins in our own lives, and extends into our homes, workplaces, universities and city. (City on a Hill, Melbourne, Australia)
Here are a few Business vision statement examples:
- “To create the McDonald’s of small business consulting”. – Michael Gerber Companies
- “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.” – Southwest Air
- “To be the best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.” – McDonald’s
Do you see how those statements show you what they see and clearly tells someone following where they’re going?
4. Use Your Vision Statement REPEATEDLY
When you ask for anything, remind the audience of the “why”. When people within the organization feel discouraged, remind them of the “why”. When you pray, reiterate to God your “Why”.
Rather than saying, “In need you to give $100 because we have a notice the lights are getting cut off”, you’d say, “I want to remind you this church is here because (vision statement) and in order for the work to be completed, we need (# of people) who want this vision to come to fruition to give (amount).
Rather than saying “We need more volunteers to clean bathrooms”, you’d say, “I want to remind you this ministry was organized for (vision statement) and in order for the work to be completed, we need (# of volunteers) who want to see this vision come to fruition to volunteer and clean the bathrooms.
Are you getting it now?
The vision will light a fire of passion in others and as long as the team stays focused and uses it as a way to navigate and lead, it will stay as the fuel to keep you going. It serves as the motive because the people who choose to be clients or members of your organization choose to do so because they want to see the vision come to fruition.
They may or may not like you or everything your saying, but they want the vision to happen, so they persevere.
A Playlist on How To Write a Vision Statement for Your Ministry
I’ve compiled this playlist to help you get more ideas and information as you write the vision statement for your ministry. Hopefully it helps:
Final Words on Church Vision Statement Examples
The goal of this article was to show how to write a vision statement that creates a viral company culture. It’s important for leaders to be clear about where they’re going so employees and customers feel like they’re contributing to something bigger. If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section. I’d love to help you out!
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Now, it’s Your Turn…
Have you created a vision statement for your ministry? Why or why not? What additional things would you add for someone asking “What is a vision statement?”. Leave your comments, questions, and feedback below.