The Vision Chart

When I came to my church in 1991, it was celebrating its fortieth anniversary with the theme "A Vision Revisited, A Vision Renewed."

During a Concert of Prayer, we had people contribute their vision ideas, and as leaders we compiled them into five "vision points":

  1. A healing community
  2. Intentional disciple making
  3. Target community evangelism
  4. Facility expansion
  5. Church planting

Then we distributed a Vision Chart, with the five components as headings across the top. Underneath was a brief description and then blank space for people to write the specific way they would be willing to help fulfill that vision point for the next year. We asked everyone—from new members to charter members, to indicate how they would help—whether praying, giving, assisting, or leading a particular aspect.

In eight years, the entire vision was fulfilled! Specific ministries emerged from the Vision Chart such as Stephen's Ministries, disciplemaking small groups, community impact efforts, a new worship center, and a church plant that's now reaching 240 seekers in a theater west of Wheaton.

This team buildingthrough a common focal point, the Vision Chartmade the invisible visible.

Lou Diaz, Wheaton Evangelical Free Church in Wheaton, Illinois

Identify the New Realities

For a long time, the vision of our church has been "Every member a minister." But now we're thinking of changing it to "Every member a missionary" because the church can't be just a haven from an evil world. We've got to be a boot camp equipping people to go into the world and make disciples.

The world we live in right now is much nearer AD 55 than 1955. It's not a Christian world. There is hostility to the gospel in many ways. And so we're training people to live for Jesus in whatever environment they're in—not expecting secular people to come to church to hear the gospel.

I don't even use the words Christian or Christianity much anymore. I almost always use the word Christ-follower because many people around here see Christianity as wrapped up in capitalism and a certain polity. A Muslim neighbor is not offended by Jesus, but he is offended by Christianity and certainly offended by Baptists. And so we have to unwrap Jesus, present him as the Christ of Scripture, and then challenge people to be Christ-followers.

Today, a church's vision is not a destination or a location—it's a journey. "Come, let's follow Jesus" is invitation. If we think we've solved the riddle of what that means, then we've stopped growing.

It's a fascinating time to lead a church. We don't have to solve every problem, but we do need to keep people moving toward Jesus.

Randel Everett, Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, Virginia

Constant Review Is the Glue

How does one implement a vision statement? My father is 87 years old and has been preaching for 65 years. His answer: "Constant review is the student's glue."

Repetition and review hold it all together.

Whatever the vision is, restate it over and over again, so people understand what you're trying to do. It needs to be broad and bold.

That's what Habakkuk was leading to when he talked about writing the vision, and writing so large that even a man running a race would be able to read it. And that's not an easy thing.

A vision will be most successfully cast through preaching. In other words, it needs to be set in a biblical context in order for people to receive it as the vision from God. It is through the preaching event that the vision is best cast.

Beecher Hicks, Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington, DC

Go Deeper

Strategic Planning

This theme is designed to help you understand the importance and benefits of strategic planning.