During the past few decades, churches started writing vision statements. A “vision statement” summarizes a church’s ministry goals for the near future. It paints a picture of who the church would like to be or what it would like to do in the next few years.
This is another example of churches taking a business approach to ministry. But vision statements aren’t necessarily bad. They unite a church by creating a sense of identity. And they streamline our ministry efforts by uniting them under a common goal.
All in all, it’s better for churches to adopt a vision statement. But it’s important how we adopt that vision.
Sample Vision Statements
During my student ministry, I wanted to emphasize Jesus-centered change. We named our ministry Catalyst, and our vision statement was, “Changing the world for Jesus and being changed by Him.” A church we now attend states their vision: “Inviting people to discover a life-changing relationship with Jesus.”
These vision statements are effective because they are simple and scriptural. Most importantly, they direct our attention to Jesus.
Contrast these with the statement of another church we recently attended: “God has called our church to be a well, where imperfect people – inside and outside the church – are being refreshed, restored, and resourced to enrich their relationships with God, self, and others, and intentionally reach one more for Jesus!”
This vision is complicated and long. It is too complex to be useful. It probably expresses the creativity of the pastor more than the will of God.
Keep It Simple
Effective vision statements are simple. Express your church’s vision in a single sentence. Brevity adds power to your vision by making it memorable. It makes it easier for ministry leaders to ask, “Are my efforts moving toward or away from accomplishing our vision?”
Keep It Scriptural
Effective vision statements are also scriptural. Pastors labor over the exact wording of their vision. But Scripture is full of ready-to-use vision statements! God has already revealed His will for His church. And it is His Word that is “alive and active” (Hebrews 4:12) – not our cleverly written statements.
Here are some excellent vision statements taken straight from Scripture:
- “Loving God and loving people” (Matthew 26:36-40). Many churches use this in some form. It comes from Jesus’ teaching on the Great Commandment. It reminds us the hallmark of Christianity is love.
- “Making disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:18). This comes from the Great Commission. Churches often get distracted from Jesus’ final assignment. This reminds us of our purpose.
- “Preaching the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). This comes from Mark’s version of the Great Commission. Again, it reminds us what Jesus expects of us.
- “Becoming all things to all people” (1 Corinthians 9:22). This verse summarizes Paul’s strategy for evangelism. It reminds us not to expect people to fit a certain mold before accepting them into the church.
- “Presenting everyone fully mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). This was Paul’s vision statement. It reminds us to continually progress in our faith.
There are other Scriptures too. The point is to take your vision statement directly from the Bible. Our vision changes with each new pastor or season of ministry. But Jesus’ vision for His church never changes. And our vision, no matter how cleverly stated, isn’t necessarily the same as His.
We mustn’t get so caught up asking, “What is our vision?” that we forget to ask, “What is Jesus’ vision for us?”
Keep It Focused on Jesus
That is why effective vision statements focus on Him. Perhaps the best vision of all is, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). What if everything we did at church was designed to turn our eyes (and others’ eyes) toward Him?
Feel free to share this post with your pastor or friends from church!
Subscribe to my blog to receive new posts!