Compelling Environments

Having designed hundreds of strategies during the last decade, I find that there are three dominant environments that every local church is attempting to create: worship environments, connecting environments, and serving environments. Each one plays a significant role in transmitting and realizing the vision. Most important, amid a missional reorientation we must acknowledge that our environments have tended to be an end and not a means to Christian mission. The missional leader must constantly show that the church gathered is actually a time of preparation for “being the church” outside its walls.

First, you need to remember that before you think you are casting vision, you already are – by how you worship.

The pattern of weekly worship and Sabbath was embedded into the fabric of early church culture. Every church has some environment for worship. The question is, How does your vision integrate into your worship? What aspects of the vision are communicated during the worship experience? How do the elements and order of worship communicate values? How does the vision itself affect the design of the worship space? The vision of raw simplicity in a Quaker meetinghouse is a stark contrast to a large downtown stained-glass sanctuary.

Worship keeps our grandest visions God-centered and Jesus focused.

Second, everything must be integrated relationally.

What would church be without relationships? Every church draws people into some kind of setting where the “one anothers” of Scripture are applied. The groups may be tight-knit, gender accountability groups of three to six, or they may be thirty to forty people in an on-campus adult Bible Fellowship. Your Kingdom Concept and your Vision Frame reflect some basic unit of community through which relationships can form and thrive.

This makes the connecting environment, in most cases, the locus of both spiritual formation and vision discovery. Group members may hear about the vision in other church venues, but the rubber must meet the road in the most time-relationship-intensive environment. If they don’t get the vision in the connecting environment, the vision won’t stick.

Third, your church must learn to serve inside out.

Because God has given spiritual gifts for the edification of the body (Ephesians 4), the church is incomplete and immature unless individual members are serving one another. Every church has environments of service: leading in worship instructing children, or welcoming guests, to name a few. The Vision Frame should guide how the church builds its serving environments.

The missional mind-set pushes the envelope on how we think about service. Do we serve people only after we somehow convince them to come onto our holy environment, or do we push out into the community and demonstrate the love of Jesus in their midst. There has been growing emphasis on two dynamics related to service. One is a shared project with other community participants. Another dynamic is what Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch call “proximity spaces,” which they define as “places or events where Christians and not-yet Christians can interacts meaningfully with one another.”

The bottom line is this: we have to get out of our church boxes if we are going to effectively model the lifestyle of Jesus, who engaged and served people who were deeply embedded in their spaces.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Environments >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision and Create Movement.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
My husband and I are seeking a new church because we've recently moved. We've been shocked and dismayed to find so many unfriendly , closed congregations and pastors. We're servants who want to plug in and work alongside fellow believers. However, so far we've not found one church where the pastor is a humble leader and the members are friendly, willing servants. We're not new believers. We're seminary trained with hearts for the lost. Willing, able and called. So far the Lord has not directed us to the church of His choice. It's no wonder America is in the shape it's in when our churches are closed social groups, not open, welcoming , loving brides of Christ.
 
— Cheryl
 
I've been in my Methodist church for over 30 years, but I still HATE the greeting time. I'm shy and dont like shaking hands with people I don't know, especially people who have just coughed or sneezed into their hand - gross! Even worse is being forced to say something like "peace be unto you" (which I would NEVER say in my daily life), it seems pompous, highly unnatural and pointless. I really wish they would stop this. But I stay there for other reasons.
 
— Anne
 
I think if you are drawn to God, you will not care about what church you go to as long as you are getting fed the true word of God. Most importantly is to go to church and get the biblical teaching and biblical worship that you seek.Another reason being that maybe you really don't want to go to church to begin with and if that is so, you will look for, and find any excuse you can muster up to not go anymore. If I am seeking a new church, I would look for one that teaches the true word of God, which can only be found in the holy Bible. And if that church does not beleive in Salvation through Jesus Christs' death on the cross, I would walk out immediately.
 
— Wayne Irons
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.