Understanding the Four Horizons of Vision

Do you really understand visionary planning?

As a leader, can you clarify the difference between having a vision and having a plan? Vision is about the picture of your church’s future. A plan is about the steps to get there.

The vision answers the question, “Where is God taking us?” The plan answers the question, “What are the next best steps, and how do they relate?”

Solution – Understanding the Four Horizons of Vision

THE QUICK SUMMARY – God Dreams by Will Mancini

Is your team excited about the next big dream for your church?

You are a visionary leader and your church probably has a vision statement. Yet most churches are stuck in a trap of generic communication without a truly visionary plan. Just like a visionary restaurant needs a more specific focus than “serving food,” a visionary church needs something more than biblical generalizations like “loving God, loving people” or “making disciples and serving the world.”

When a team doesn’t share an understanding of God’s next big dream, leadership grows tired, overworked by an “all things to all people” ministry approach. Too often there’s no unified picture of what success looks like. People can feel uninspired and your church’s programming can seem more optional than ever.

Ministry without clarity is insanity. Are you ready for a better way?

In this groundbreaking work, based on Will Mancini’s 15 years and over 10,000 hours of church team facilitation, God Dreams reveals a simple and powerful planning method that will bring energy and focus to your church like never before.

First, God Dreams shows how to reclaim the role of long-range vision today by providing 12 vision templates, each with biblical, historical, and contemporary illustrations. These vision starters will dramatically accelerate your team’s ability to find complete agreement regarding your church’s future.

Second, God Dreams explains how to overcome the fruitless planning efforts that many church teams experience. With a tool called the Horizon Storyline, leaders can connect short-term action steps with the long-range dream, while leveraging the power of storytelling to make the plan “stick.” This tool will galvanize a diverse team of ministry leaders and volunteers with unprecedented enthusiasm.

Imagine leading with a refreshed sense of freedom and confidence, with a totally new way to inspire your church. Imagine the ability to harness the energy and resources of your people toward a specific dream of gospel impact, in your church and in your lifetime.

God Dreams is your passport to leading into a better future.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

Your eyes can focus on multiple horizons. As you are reading this document, look up and notice what is in your midground – a desk and chairs, other people?

Now look to the background and note what you see. A window to look through or a bookshelf?

The document itself and your arms and hands are in your foreground.

Without moving your head, experience the ability to focus in and out of these three horizons going back and forth quickly. That’s called accommodation. It’s a natural reflex that is happening subconsciously all day long. But it’s also a voluntary process. You can consciously control it whenever you want, as you probably did while trying the exercise.

What’s natural to your daily life can also be natural to your church’s organizational life. It is possible to use the three basic distances you are zooming in and out of all day long to build a visionary planning model.

In fact, the primary reason for vision in human-body functions is to guide and direct movement. The same might be said of your visionary plan: it exists to guide and direct movement for the church body as a whole.

The Horizon Storyline is a tool to develop the right amount of vision content for the right time in the future, for the entire leadership team.

The breakthrough of the Horizon Storyline is the development of a planning tool that fits human experience. It’s natural to grasp, using the way we already see, think, and communicate. What if we could forever remove the “it’s just too complicated” barrier? What if your planning tool would intuitively and immediately make sense? What if it would actually be fun to revisit over and over again?

The Horizon Storyline is defined by how we see different “horizons” in our field of vision every day. This idea is illustrated in a landscape painting, with the background far away as the eyes can see; a focal point of the piece in the midground that draws and keeps your focus; and an object in the foreground up close, right before your eyes.

To start, we just carry over the simple idea of background, midground, and foreground using those as names for three of our four planning horizons. We will simply see them as horizons, not in three-dimensional space but into the future. They are time horizons.

Here’s how it works. The near future we will define as ninety days away. That is the foreground vision. The next horizon, the midground vision, we define as one year away. And the furthest horizon we can “see” as an organization is the background vision, defined as three years away. The eyes of your church or ministry should be able to “see” this amount of time into the future.

Now that leaves one more horizon to define. This fourth horizon is just a little farther than you can clearly see. It’s just past your visible range. I call that “beyond the horizon” as a reminder that it is far away, just over the next mountain range, so to speak. I define this time frame as anywhere between five and twenty years depending on the church’s life stage and context.

Will Mancini, God Dreams

A NEXT STEP

The horizons described above are extensions of the way your eyes naturally work.

Right now think of at least one foreground, or short-term strategic horizon for your church. Something within the next 60-90 days.

Now list one big thing you hope to accomplish in the next year.

Finally, what is a big project, idea or task that you know will need to be tackled in the next few years of your leadership?

Rate the connectedness and continuity between these strategic initiatives. Bring the team together and ask, what could be done to bring these three natural horizons of visionary planning into alignment?

 


More energy. Greater resources. Better synergy. Would you like to have that right now at your church? Would you have guessed that the first step toward these improvements is defining your specific vision as a church?

If you don’t have a clear vision, you certainly won’t have a culture that matches. And if you don’t have a strong culture, then what are people in your church really doing?

Why are they there?

Taken from SUMS Remix 32-2, published January 2016


This is part of a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book. As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

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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 God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How 12 Templates for Church Vision Will Transform Your Leadership

The 12 Templates for Church Vision as a resource made the subtitle of God Dreams. God Dreams is toolbox for installing a visionary planning model in your church. The master tool of the book is called the Horizon Storyline and it fits inside of the Vision Frame–more on that to come.

At this year’s Exponential Conference in Orlando April 24-27, members of the Auxano team and I will be leading multiple breakout sessions – all based on the resources provided in God Dreams. Find out more information here.

SO WHAT ARE THE 12 TEMPLATES?

The Horizon Storyline will engage your thinking on church vision 5-20 years into the future depending on the age and life stage of your ministry. When it comes to thinking this far away, I have found that it is very difficult getting people on the same page. Vision that distance into the future can seem fuzzy or unnecessary to think about.  The 12 templates were designed as an on-ramp to vibrant imagination and dialogue as a leadership team.

Think of the 12 templates as a vision typology. When believers sit together and dream about the impact they want to have in the world, I believe any dream can be ultimately defined by one of the templates. It’s church vision made that simple.

In fact, that’s how the templates emerged in my mind. About 4 years ago I had crossed the 10,000 hour mark of facilitating with church teams. I began to see the patterns crystallize in my mind. We have been using these tools for about 4 years at Auxano, and a year ago, I decided that we needed to put it in a book. The visuals and definitions of the 12 templates are available on the free download below.

HOW WILL THEY TRANSFORM YOUR LEADERSHIP?

Most teams select and relate the top two templates for their church. For example, New Break in San Diego uses the “leadership multiplication leading to targeted transformation” as their picture idea. From there you build out a vivid description of your long-range vision horizon. (God Dreams walks through this process). In the end, the transformative nature of having a long-range vision comes from the brand new ability to:

  • Increase your confidence as a leader
  • Shape the destiny of the whole congregation
  • Create deeper meaning for individuals
  • Cultivate heroic sacrifice among people
  • Focus the resource base of the church 
  • Guide the development of long-term strategy

The state of church vision is so anorexic with regard to this kind of long-range thinking that it’s hard to recognize it any more. We are trafficking in such general ideas, we no longer recognize the lack of meaning of anything beyond sermon series planning or the next annual budget. Where does that leave our people? They are not emotionally connected to anything that our church represents or the impact we can have, beyond the next weekend service or small group.

Let me ask you: What kind of dramatic gospel impact will your church have in your community, in your lifetime? 

Download the 12 Templates Overview

Templates that ADVANCE (arrow)

  • Geographic (Gospel) Saturation
  • Targeted Transformation
  • People-group Penetration

Templates that RESCUE (cross)

  • Institutional Renovation
  • Need Adoption
  • Crisis Mobilization

Templates that BECOME (circle)

  • Spiritual Formation
  • Presence Manifestation
  • Obedient Anticipation

Templates that OVERFLOW (wave)

  • Leadership Multiplication
  • Cultural Replication
  • Anointing Amplification

> Read more from Will.


Would you like to know more about the 12 Vision Templates or the Horizon Storyline? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

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 God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Reasons Why Scheduling a Leadership Retreat This Year Will Increase Attendance This Year

When was the last time you experienced a dynamic 2-day offsite retreat that refreshed and refocused your team? This week is a great time to calendar, block, and schedule a retreat with your key leaders.

But some leaders might wonder, “Things are going so well, do we really need to go through the trouble of extra vision and planning days?” It’s a great question. I fundamentally believe that much greater progress can come with actionable reflection. Yet, I thought I would explore the connection between taking time to envision the future and increasing attendance in your church.

Here are five reasons why pausing to plan will result in more people being attracted to your church.

Reason #1: Communicating the retreat that you schedule this week indirectly sets a tone of expectation for ministry results in 2017. This kind of leadership move has a domino effect on the team and your leaders will be more likely to decide and act in ways that link to more people coming. For example, your student ministry director might think ahead on student events so that they are done faster and better. After all, the retreat is coming and his or her ministry will be discussed.

Reason #2: Creating harmony and flow among the leaders who implement ministry makes ministry environments more attractive. Years ago I learned that a perfectly executed worship service with frustrated or burned out leaders isn’t really as much of a “win” as I thought. “Who we are” as we do the ministry is just as important as “what we do” and people attending are adept as sensing the atmosphere.  Taking time to listen, relax and focus on the future will refresh a sense of community that others seeing that community from a distance can feel.

Reason #3: Focusing attention and resources on one area of impact will positively effect the whole system. The idea here is that your church needs one big goal at a time. Even if that goal is not directly aimed to increase attendance, it will likely have a positive impact. The church as the “body of Christ” is a set of systems. Strengthening one part, helps the whole.

Reason #4: Making room to diagnose problems and consider alternative perspectives will create new ideas. Every organization gets stuck in ruts in how they operate. There are always ruts. The only question is, how are you identifying and tackling them? The best idea  for increasing attendance at your church may never come if you don’t create the time and space to birth it.

Reason #5: Resetting the vision is essential for inspiring greatness and creating energy. It’s easy to forget how monotonous ministry is on the front line. What are we ultimately supposed to be doing? Why do we do what we do? Where are we headed as a church? Your leaders ARE asking these questions whether you are aware of it or not. Why not involve them in helping see the future again? Increasing clarity creates energy to get more done and lifts the spirits of the people as they work. Do you think that increasing the energy and enthusiasm of your top 20 leaders will lead to increased attendance this year? You bet it will.

Sometimes having a facilitator for a 2-day retreat makes a huge difference. Our team at Auxano is ready to help you this year. We have a strong retreat agenda developed based on my latest book, God Dreams. Why not invite us in to help you?  Learn more.

> Read more from Will.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

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 God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

It’s Time to Shift Your Planning Horizon

Life is too busy. I continue to hear this from many people and it is especially true for the ones leading organizations. The leader often relays that they are so stuck in the day-to-day management of the business they cannot spend any time on the vision and direction. There are many techniques that help this, and I think one is getting clear on your planning horizon. What time frame should you be spending most of your time thinking about?

You have people for that

Let’s use the founder of the church as an example. Ten years ago he planted the church, and it has grown now to about 1000 people attending services on the weekend. In the beginning, he had to do nearly everything on his own, including dreaming about the long-term future and preparing for next Sunday. That works ok when an organization is very small because there aren’t that many details or moving parts to worry about. It is still a lot to think about and do. Now, he has staff and volunteers helping to run everything, but he is still in contact with each and every detail.

Do you trust people enough to guide and let go? If there are performance issues, then you can coach and train most people to get better over time. However, if there are trust issues where you can’t let go, that is usually a leadership challenge. Think about the worst thing that could (realistically) happen if you let them go on their own? If that risk is acceptable (and it usually is), then practice letting go.

Visualize your planning horizon

If you have a way to see your planning horizon, the time frame that should consume most of your thinking, then you can communicate effectively to others about your role and theirs.

What most people do as the organization grows and their leadership role expands is shown below. Note how they might be the founding pastor with visionary responsibilities, but they are still operating in the near term.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 9.07.22 AM

What I recommend is to shift the planning horizon rather than expand it. We all have to do a little bit of thinking about today and this week so we remember to get up in the morning, attend the staff meeting, or buy groceries. The question is where most of your time is focused at work.

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 9.07.32 AM

Your Next Move

The next time you are too busy to think about the vision and direction of your church, consider drawing out your planning horizon, and do the same for those around you. If there is too much overlap, or you see gaps, then you have work to do so each of you can be working on the right stuff.

> Read more from Dave.


Earlier this year, Auxano Founder Will Mancini released his latest book, God Dreams. It contains a planning method that will bring energy and focus to your church like never before. To see the model for visionary planning check out how the Horizon Storyline works.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dave Bair

Dave brings a unique talent for system and process implementation to the Leadership Team at Church Community Builder and also leads our team of coaches. His history of consulting with major corporations to implement change has enabled him to build an impressive coaching framework to guide church leaders towards operational effectiveness. Dave and his wife of many years have a daughter, studying chemistry in college, and a son in high school who's passions include saxophone and drums. In addition for finding Dave at DaveBair.co you may occasionally spot him piloting his hot air ballon in the western sky.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Brushy Creek Baptist in Easley, SC has a Vision for Christ-Centered Parenting

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 Brushy Creek Baptist Church in Easley, SC, led by Jim Spencer and Nick McClellan. Before we jump into their “Christ-Centered Parenting” 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.

Brushy Creek Vision: Christ Centered Parenting

Over the next five years, we dream to inspire hundreds of upstate South Carolina families to make Christ-centered parenting their greatest achievement and highest priority.

Brushy Creek’s sense of urgency for the spiritual formation of families is stirred by our culture marked by a fanatical obsession with pleasure and prosperity. Upstate families consistently sail with misguided rudders; they have unknowingly gone off course in the name of recreation and have led themselves toward destructive crosswinds and unforgiving waves.

In the next five years, we will provide our community with gospel-centered, family-friendly, and application-driven programs matched by welcoming, clean, and state-of-the-art facilities. We will be a safe harbor for families to rest at port, as they will find restoration, supplies, and training needed to set sail again. We see an upstate armada of strong parents navigating together through the rough seas of daily living. We envision this fleet of Christ-centered families carrying a gospel banner that will introduce even more misguided men, women, boys, and girls to the good news of Jesus.

God Himself has promised life in His Son Jesus Christ; therefore, we know that the time is now for us to raise our sails, reclaim these wandering vessels, and bring them into port.

Church: Brushy Creek Baptist Church, Easley, SC

Pastors: Jim Spencer and Nick McClellan

Vision Template: Spiritual formation

 

>>>> Buy God Dreams >>>>

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

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 God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Clear Creek Community Church in Houston has an Invitation for Everyone in the 4B Area

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

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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 God Dreams and Church Unique.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Church Vision Statement Case Study: New Break Church

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 NewBreak Church in San Diego, led by Mike Quinn. Before We jump into their Waves of Transformation 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 Newbreak, 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.

 Newbreak Vision Before:

Newbreak had great language in their culture but not shared vocabulary around a vivid description. One of my favorites phrases that they use is “shaking the planet.” Phrases like these can be motivational but are ultimately limited by the generic nature. And by the way, there are nine common forms of generic church vision. Newbreak leaned toward the “change the world” and “reach more” kinds of generic vision.

NewBreak Vision After:  Waves of Transformation Vivid Description

In the next decade we will raise up hundreds of guides who will in turn take thousands of people on the journey of a lifetime. Not a vacation but a transforming adventure: a biblically fueled, Spirit-inspired, and relationally charged leadership development process. The adventure will focus on Jesus and our twelve marks of following Him. 

Why leadership development and why now? By God’s grace thousands of men and women call Newbreak home. We now have five campuses—strategic mission posts spread throughout our region. But San Diego County is a place with hundreds of unique community identities. From refugees on the run to displaced transplants to an always mobilizing military, our corner of California is dying from spiritual starvation, and it’s increasingly adrift on a sea with no rudder.

Therefore our leadership development itinerary will not stop until thousands of people become agents of bold change, serving their surrounding communities with authentic love. We imagine dads enjoying their children, marriages welded together, and coworkers radically concerned for one another. We see neighborhoods turned upside down by the unexplainable kindness of Newbreakers. We envision hundreds of small groups as life rafts pulling people from an ocean of crowded loneliness. We see dozens of beachheads in our city’s niche neighborhoods, with platoons of skilled and loving Newbreakers moving in to start new campuses and empower new causes. The impact of each campus will be measured by positive community transformation. And we won’t stop until we blanket our city with an ever-growing network of campuses on mission.

What’s the Newbreak vision when you boil it all down? It’s a wave of leadership development that brings a wave of community transformation that brings a larger wave of leadership development that brings an even bigger wave of community transformation. There’s nothing like watching a swell build from the vantage point of the cliffs in Ocean Beach. That’s what we see as we look at communities from a development perspective. Can you see it?

What we do through Newbreak in our lifetime will shake the planet, from here to the farthest points in the world.

Let’s make some waves.

Church: Newbreak Church, San Diego, CA

Pastor: Mike Quinn

Vision Templates: Leadership multiplication that results in targeted transformation.

>>>> Buy God Dreams >>>>

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

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 God Dreams and Church Unique.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
 
— Laurie
 
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
 
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.