Thursday, 12 August 2010

I need your help!

This is the biggest risk I have taken on this blog so far.  I am going to ask a question looking for feedback.  Of course for all I know no-one may be listening to me ask, and so I will get a bit of a land (it may turn out that 'to whom it may concern' actually concerns very few people).  Nevertheless this is a serious request.

I have been challenged in recent months about communicating our vision.  I know what sort of church I want us to be in Richhill Methodist, but it seems I haven't made it very clear (or consulted people about whether this is a shared vision).  I am also planning for life beyond Richhill (in less than a year) and what sort of vision I would sell to a different congregation.

David Blevins has been commissioned to draw up a three-year plan for us, and I have been impressed by what I have seen.  It centres on welcoming, witnessing and walking.  I have added a link that may he of interest.  I will not be blogging for two weeks but I will keep an eye on any comments that may be shared.


Graham Veale said...


Let me play devil's advocate.

Could someone argue that "Visions", in the sense of "Mission Statements", don't help that much? Presumably they help in some businesses. But when they introduce talk of visions into teaching, I find that we're just restating the obvious.

So CoAHS has a mission statement of "Caring, Opportunity and Excellence". Which of course immediately distinguishes from those schools that value hate, oppression and mediocrity!
Obviously we add details. But they're not significantly different than other schools.

Say that a Church didn't have a Vision statement. What would they do that would be significantly different? What would they not be doing?
So is the Vision Statement really for the Church - or is it really there to focus the leadership's thinking?
And would God ever judge a pastor for not communicating his vision?

And what evidence do we have that Churches that do not grow have not communicated their "vision"?

We can teach children many things without us realising that we're teaching, and without children realising that they're learning. In other words we most often teach how to be virtuous, how to parent or to be a friend, without realising that we're teaching. Good parents don't need a vision statement, and the NT models the Church on the family.

I can think of places where Paul communicates his "Vision Statement" eg. Galatians. But does he do this in every letter? Does the fact that he mentions this in "Galatians" imply that he hadn't communicated his "vision" to the Galatian Church prior to this?

I suppose I'm just asking how important communicating a Vision is. How much does it matter? Is it just part of our bureaucratic culture? Or do we need it precisely because we live in a "bureaucratic culture"?

PS: That's all just off the top of my head. I've never thought about this sort of thing before.I'm sure David has done a brilliant job and that a Vision Statement can be very useful.

I just wonder if we don't worry about these things a little too much.

Anonymous said...

A more positive answer would be that you can't have a Vision for a local Church until you know that Church and its locale.

And that just because a Church member can't communicate the words of a Vision statement doesn't mean that they don't know what the leadership values, and is trying to achieve.

To whom it may concern said...

Thanks for these comments.

Graham I really reasoante with what you are saying. One of problems with three-year plans is that you can't dictate what is down the road. The other problem I have with vision plans is that there is no point saying that you are going to do something until someone has the disire and gifts to do it. You are right in terms of the nature of our vision being obvious. The church seems more ready to take the model of curch as business, rather than church as family. I have plans for how I would like my kids to grwo up, but I don't need a mission strategy to tell me about it.

Annonymous. Thanks for your post. You make a great point about needing to know the locale. This is exactly the problem I am having in applying for a church not in my locale. If they say 'how do you do think we should act in mission?' I want to say, 'I am not sure because I don't know this area as well as you do, I don't know what you have tried already etc.'


Graham Veale said...

I meant to get back to you on this topic, and say something on the side of vision statements. I think that they can be useful - or at least I can see the arguments for them.

However the School's wonderful C2K system crashed my laptop. So I've been off-line. Cutting the conversation off after playing devil's advocate probably made me sound very negative and critical. Apologies.(Nikki let me buy a net-book, so it's not all bad.)

By the way, whatever the outcome of the degree, you're an extraordinarily well read and intelligent man.