Visioning is a process, not a product. There’s often more value in the process itself than in the end result. Visioning is a continual exchange among your leaders of information, ideas, dreams, hopes and vision that keeps our church sharp, passionate, and focused.
Visioning helps us understand the current state of our church, determine what our church is called to be, and provides tangible steps for the next part of our journey.
Doing ministry without visioning is much like camping in the wilderness without a map or compass. We can accomplish a lot of urgent things right where we are–providing shelter, searching for wood, starting a fire, preparing food. But once we get ready to break camp, we have no idea where to head next. The business of the urgent is important and fulfilling until we look up and realize that we are not quite sure why we are working so hard and where we want to go next.
The Transforming Church visioning process is a series of weekend leadership retreats (usually three) for your staff and key volunteer leaders, usually held on a Friday nights and Saturdays, although these days can be flexible. A TAG consultant comes on-site to facilitate the gathering—but your team does the visioning!
Church ministry is intense and time-consuming, both for pastors and volunteer leaders. It often takes everything we have just to keep up with the routine–preaching, visiting, counseling, leading volunteers, and taking responsibility for ministry and programs. The fact is that thoughtful planning—visioning–helps us in the areas where we are most burdened–time management, priorities, responsibilities, leadership challenges. This practice may well be the most crucial step in maximizing the effectiveness of our ministry.
Visioning provides both the map for the journey and the compass for clear direction. Taking time out to insure that we have these items will insure a more effective journey.
Why do visioning?
- So that our work in the present is viewed as part of a bigger picture.
- So that both staff and volunteer leaders are united around a clear purpose and direction.
- So that our church will have the energy that comes from unity in mission, vision, values, and strategy.
- So that we will have a measure of what not to do and we will have an agreed upon standard when there are choices about the nature and focus of our church’s ministry.
Visioning is an investment that requires time, deep thought, confronting the facts with brutal honesty, probably some conflict, and a lot of hard work. Is it worth it?