In the first post, we painted the picture of what it looks like when vision and relationships are driving the direction of the church. Now let’s reverse the drivers. Appearing now in the front seat are structures and ministry. More about these two elements. I don’t want you to misunderstand me. These two components of the church are vital, but they need to be seated in the right place on the bus. When I talk about ministries, I am referring to ministries that focus on outreach and structures that anchor accountability. These are talented players but when structures are driving the church bus and ministry is in the front seat here is what a typical meeting agenda looks like.
Call to Order
Review of Agenda
- Reading of the Minutes from the last meeting
Treasurers Report –
Pastor’s Report –
Committee Reports –
Old (Unfinished) Business
(Items that have been postponed from or not finished from previous meetings are handled here.)
This meeting may take two to three hours to complete this agenda and somewhere along the way the meeting gets derailed by older members of the church who go into a church version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days.” This is how the song goes.
It was the time in their congregation’s history that every single program and event seemed to work. Whether it was the Ladies’ Aid sewing circle or the men’s workday. They were never at a loss for volunteers, and the building was abuzz with activity. The Sunday School classrooms were standing room only. The former pastor was a ministry rock star. And you, being the new pastor will never live up to that legend. The church had money to burn, and there were multiple services because they could not fit all the people into the building in just one. Everyone was happy, and the church was growing. But now your meetings are dull, dry, and long. Nowhere in the agenda above can you find vision or a plan to build relationships with unchurched people. You entire meeting revolves around taking care of the people who are already connected to Christ and maintaining the building that houses the already converted. A vision that could add energy and direction and relationship with those outside the walls have taken a backseat to ministry to the already heaven bound.
It is time to Flip the Drivers.
To be clear about this point, vision is from God. Vision may seem far beyond our reach and, if so, that may be an indicator that we are heading in the right direction. If the vision is comfortably within our capabilities, God does not receive the glory. But if the vision is “God-sized” in scope, meaning impossible without God’s intervention, then God receives the Glory and Him alone!
So, what do you need to do? You need to start with asking the right questions. At your next leadership meeting flip your agenda. Put new business first. Start exploring these type of questions: Do you have a good vision statement that points you clearly to your reason for existence? Who are the people God has called you to connect within your community? Once you figure out if your vision statement is pointing toward those outside your walls you will know it is from God. These are the fundamental questions a compelling and inspiring vision statement will answer:
• What are the end results you will see when this vision is accomplished? (End results being who are the people, stories, events or works of the Holy Spirit that are on full display in your ministry?)
• Who in the community is being impacted by this vision?
• How are you developing a discipleship culture? That is a culture of equipping the saints, multiplying and sending the saints of God into the mission field.
• How are the members living out the vision and what impact does it have on them and the community we are called to serve?
The first post in this series: