Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Dummies Guide to Creating a Vision Statement
In this period of sabbaticalling I have met with a number of lead pastors who are working out their church's view on children and children's ministry. They have all asked me how I got my vision going.
Prior to April, I was emailed by LOADS of children's/youth workers all over the country to ask, amongst other things, how I knew what I was to do first, what were my priorities. I always asked them what their vision for their role was - which was often met with....pauses/blank looks/uncertainty. So I'm pretty pleased that now their team leaders want to support them in this.
Last year I ran an equipping track at my annual vision day to help pastors and leaders get a vision for children's and youth ministry but, errrrr, I encouraged them gently not to just copy my vision statement. That's a cop out - what might the Spirit of God want to say to you which will be much more exciting than my vision statement would say?! I know whose I would rather have any day :-)
Here's my Dummies Guide to Creating a Vision Statement
(not that I am saying pastors are dummies. Far from it. I'm one!! (one what?)
Implementing a Vision for Children and Young People
The first THREE steps to implementing a vision for children and young people in YOUR church are to:
1.Get armed with information from culture and Christian research
2.Get familiar with passages in the Bible pertaining to children and young people
3.Have an open heart and mind, to be challenged and changed, stirred and broken.
The next step, if it is needed…..(and it might not be, you alone know this about your church). Vision for the future is built from the ashes of repentance.
4.Repent for any wrong attitudes personally or corporately held towards children and young people.
See this post for help with this.
5. Consider the following definitions. Make sure you understand them:
Values – principles held that informed the vision process
Vision – the place children’s, family and all age ministry should go.
Process – how is this vision to become reality?
6. The next step is to write out your theological non-negotiables about children and young people. These are your values.
"My last church" example:
•Children start with God. However, their “default” is to veer away from him without a twin strategy of evangelism and nurture. Every young person needs to hear the Good News and be nurtured in their faith journey.
•Children and teenagers need to be given regular opportunities to personally respond to what God has done through Jesus’ death and resurrection and to keep on saying “yes” to Jesus through thick and thin, throughout their stages of cognitive and spiritual development.
•Children and young people are capable of understanding their position in Christ, precious, chosen, people whose prayers are heard and who are worthy of the Father’s love, “welcome at the table”.
•Children and young people are part of the Joel 2:28 promise (“I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh”). We are not to construct a theology of “what is not for them”. We uphold that there is no “junior” Holy Spirit.
7. Then write out what, in your wildest dreams, you would like to see in the future. This is your vision.
Mine is tightly worded into three bullet points. If your church has a vision statement, look at your thoughts to see if it marries with it. Hopefully it’s not going in the opposite direction!
Obviously I am not going to reproduce this here now as that was for then. I will be asking God what it should be for next place I am and those who follow me in my previous church should be asking God what it is they are uniquely to bring as they're not me and they will have different "wildest dreams". I know mine were very big but I had a history of seeing big things happen with God so I was never going to have a vision statement that said "I hope the children all behave and have good fun in Sunday School."
8. Think: how are you going to get there? What needs to change? This is the process.
Again, I had a tightly worded pathway to make these things happen and before the church's structure changed I was a significant way along seeing these being carried out.
9. Finally, writing a vision requires the heart to follow it through to implementation.
It needs to be presented to vestry/diaconates/board/elders. It needs to be taught from the front. It needs to underpin every leadership decision your church makes. It needs to have someone/people behind it who can make it happen. Who are passionate about prayer and passionate about the vision; which is why the initial four steps are more important than anything else.