Restarting the Conversation for Long-range Vision
When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless. I like to say that your church really doesn’t need a vision statement, it needs a visionary state of mind. Yet, there needs to be a way to cultivate that state of mind. Your team does need some ideas on paper to become a sort of “mental charging station” for themselves and other leaders. Think of a vivid vision statement as “base camp” for the team to assemble around, in order to take “vision casting treks” and “meaning excursions” all day long; that is the daily work of ministry.
So how do you get this vision thing right? What does success look like? I answer the question for you in my new book God Dreams. More than that, I created a step-by-step guide for church teams.
To inspire you along the way, here is a case study from Clear Creek Community Church in Houston, TX, led by Bruce Wesley. Before we jump into their “An Invitation for everyone in the 4B Area” vision, let’s clarify what it is we are looking at.
First, it is a vivid description example of a long-range vision or what I call a “beyond-the-horizon” vision. Many have abandoned thinking long as discipline as a result of the constant changes of culture and technology. But for the church, there are many foundational reasons why leadership should think long-range. Here are twelve of them.
Second, it is only one fourth of what you need to have a complete visionary plan. This is the start – the long-range context to visionary plan. There are three other horizons to develop and the plan is eventually anchored in four immediate action initiatives in the next 90 days. To see the model for visionary planning check out how the Horizon Storyline works.
Clear Creek Vision: An Invitation for Everyone in the “4B Area”
We hope to establish ten campuses of Clear Creek Community Church in the 4B area. The 4B area is from the Beltway to the beach, from the Bay to Brazoria County, home to 500,000 people, 55 percent of whom consider themselves “nones.” That means when more than half the population checks into the hospital or talks religion around the water cooler at work or completes their census form and they are asked about their religious preference, they choose “None.”
How does a person who claims “none” come to love and trust Jesus Christ? We believe hope swells for people who consider themselves “nones” when they have a trusting relationship with a person of genuine faith who is fluent in the gospel. That’s when a self-identified “none” is most likely to consider the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So we are committed to see everyone who claims a religion of “none” to have no more than one degree of separation between them and a gospel witness who attends a Clear Creek campus in the 4B area, who will invite them into a community of faith where they will have repeated opportunities to hear and experience the amazing love of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The only way this saturation of trusting relationships will happen in our lifetime is through planting campuses and churches in close proximity to where people live, shop, work, play, and go to school; where followers of Jesus see themselves as missionaries sent to build bridges into people’s lives with God’s life-changing love rather than religious people judging others or seeking refuge from the world.
We start campuses in the 4B area, we multiply groups into every neighborhood, and we collaborate with other churches. We also plant new churches in the greater Houston area as launching pads for the people who are running into every dark corner of our city with the light and love of Jesus Christ.
As a result, God’s redemption can spread like a wildfire of hope across our coastal plains. And at the tipping point where one person in ten is a genuine Christ follower, then the culture will change: mommas and daddies will stay together, our children will thrive with a spiritual and moral compass to find their way, and people will hold their heads high in the marketplace because they do business as unto the Lord, and generosity will abound so people have what they need and no one will go to bed hungry. If God moves this profoundly in our area in our lifetime, then other followers might take responsibility for people in another part of the city and cry out to God with faith, “Do it again, Lord. Do it here among us, too.”
Church: Clear Creek Community Church, Houston, TX
Pastor: Bruce Wesley
Vision Templates: Geographic saturation