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 Harvest Church in Billings, Montana, led by Vern Streeter. Before we jump into their “Rural Relevance across the Mountain West” 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. For Harvest, the timeframe is 10 years. 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.
Harvest Vision: Rural Relevance across the Mountain West
Within the next ten years, Harvest will establish, renew, and strengthen the tangible value of “the local church” in communities within the five-hundred-mile radius of Billings, Montana.
Harvest is fueling the rural relevance of the local church across the mountain west by overflowing into rural communities especially where local believers perceive there is a lack of a viable, life-giving church. Harvest started in response to community planners who wanted to give the boot to the presence of the local church. Today we are ready to reboot the reputation of what God’s people mean to a community when we actually live life as though Jesus were living through us. We will accomplish this through culturally relevant worship and tangible community focus, so tangible that people are surprised by the love of Jesus through us.
We started in Billings, which is the trailhead of Montana. Now the Harvest brand will be the trailhead for hundreds of believers to start Christ-centered communities of hope and purpose across our vast landscape.
Church: Harvest Church, Billings, Montana
Pastor: Vern Streeter