Vision, Mission, Method
Over the past 30+ years, Vision and Mission statements have become very popular. When you go into many businesses or institutions they will be printed and placed on the wall for all to read. If you are beginning to work for an organization they tend to be a center piece of training. In addition, some people have written personal vision and mission statements. Why? These type of statements, when well thought out, provide structure and direction for an organization and/or a person.
Vision and Mission can be defined in a variety of ways. Here are the ones I like:
Vision is a picture of a preferred future. Vision is like getting pregnant, you have a vision of what will be but have to wait nine months to see the “outcome.”
Mission is defined and focused action that will move an organization toward its vision.
Taken together Vision Statements and Mission Statements should clearly and concisely convey the direction of the organization. Together they will help define your products/services, goals and culture to your employees, suppliers, customers, vendors, media and in the church the membership, attendees, and visitors. (With thanks to George Barna and Bruce Mayhew)
The most common reference to Vision in the Bible is found in Proverbs 29:18 and is most often quoted from the King James Version which reads:
Where there is no vision, the people perish:
but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
The way it reads in the New Revised Standard Version is a bit different and reads:
Where there is no prophecy, the people cast off restraint,
but happy are those who keep the law.
Vision and prophecy both refer to direction. Prophecy implies direction from God. ‘Perish’ and ‘restraint’ refer to an unharnessed life, one that is wandering without direction and purpose. Vision harnesses a person and/or organization to move in a well defined direction.
As Christians our vision is that of God’s Kingdom. God’s Kingdom, where God rules establishing the Shalom of God in all aspects of life, is our preferred future! It is what we hope for in the future but also what we work to experience and advance in the present. This is why Jesus taught his disciples to pray
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, as in heaven so on earth.
Often Vision and Mission stop when we define what those two things mean for us. They get placed on the wall or written in a book and then forgotten. What is needed is an implementation strategy, the method by which the mission will be carried out. What is also needed is disciplined leadership to keep the organization and its mission on track. The implementation strategy is not written in stone but with pencil on paper so it can be modified along the way. The Goal? Is it working!! If the strategy is not working, if the demographics shift, if the economics falter, then adaptation and change must take place. The vision and the mission may remain the same but the way of getting there can and sometimes must be altered.
At Chapel by the Sea we are in the process of solidifying our Vision, Mission, and Method statements. To me this is a holy process. We exist to glorify God. We strive to listen to God’s leading so we can discern God’s will. We obey within the abilities, gifts and passion of the congregation and the needs of the community. Please keep CBTS in prayer as we move forward in our Vision, Mission, and Methods as a congregation.