The One Church Vision Team recently had an ‘away day’ – an opportunity to step back from the day-to-day detail and busyness of the church programme and ‘be visionary’. But what does ‘being visionary’ actually mean in practice? How do you get the most out of a few precious hours together? Well, let me share our experience
In Luke 14 Jesus reminds us of the importance of first ‘counting the cost’ before embarking on ‘building a tower’ – wise words indeed! We wanted to use our time together to ‘take stock’ of where we are as a Church and allow God to continue to grow our vision for the work that He has planned for us as a church.
We started our day in prayer – inviting God right into the heart of our time together, to inhabit our conversations and to feed our dreams for the future.
To help us shape our conversations through the day we used a framework designed to help focus on 5 key aspects of vision:
1. Mission/Purpose – this should never change; it describes our very reason for existing – we at One Church would describe our mission/purpose as being a ‘Christian Community that Serves’ – it’s who we are – we will always be Christian – having a living faith in Jesus Christ, expressed though our lives, our message and our example; we will always be a community – united as a movement of faith, hope and love; and we are called to serve – practically, generously and passionately.
2. Values – as with Mission/Purpose – our values should never change – they not only describe who we are, but our values define us – we will always seek to hold the values of: Mission; Community; Development; Connection to the Holy Spirit and Relevance to Culture.
However – unlike the above – the following 3 key aspects will change over time – they are focussed more on the actual journey we are on, rather than on ‘who’ we are.
3. Objectives – we spent time considering how to best define our key objectives. We wanted our objectives to be used to help us align the things that we do and take us towards achieving the very mission that God has placed in our hands – we chose 4 statements that were ‘strategic’ in nature and helped us focus on the journey of the next 3-4 year horizon. For our One Church Objectives we chose:
o Delivering quality Leaders
o Transformed Communities
o Producing Strong Disciples
o Establish Expressions of One Church
4. Goals – Whereas our Objectives help set the course for the next 3-4 years, it was important for us to set some near-term goals. The goals needed to be bit ‘crunchier’ and where possible we identified a target date for each one. In all, we identified 21 goals describing the outcomes that we aim to achieve over the next 12-18 months and each of these goals aligned primarily to one objective – for example, one of the 6 goals that we set to help us in Developing Quality Leaders was that ‘by March 2014 – all One Church members – across all expressions – clearly understand the One Church Vision’. Once we had identified all of our goals we sat back and asked ourselves the question ‘if we achieve these goals will we have made significant steps towards our objectives?’ – we looked at one another it was a resounding ‘yes!’
5. Tactics – Anyone who plays football will know that ‘goals don’t score themselves’ – wouldn’t life be simpler if they did! To score (or achieve a goal) you need tactics – ‘the things that you are going to do – the ‘moves’ that you will work on together in order to achieve the goal. Not surprisingly there are even more of these – 32 to be precise. These range from ‘Designing and Delivering a leadership development programme for One Church’ through to ‘Refreshing our Community Strategy’. The key thing is that each tactic represents a tangible activity that is clearly owned by a member of the leadership team.
So, that’s the story so far – we are right at the beginning of a journey that will move us forward in outworking the people and church that God has called us to be – seeing lives changed; people released and communities transformed through the life-giving power of God. To truly be a Christian Community that Serves.