Are You Thinking Big Enough?
Starting any new venture is both exciting and intimidating. There are risks inherent in the venture. You may have a great idea or passion, but there is no guarantee this it will succeed. Thinking about the early days of aware3, we had no idea what the future held. We had a passion to see churches and organizations grow through member engagement and saw a need that technology could fill. We were confident that we could provide engaging experiences on mobile devices that helped people connect more deeply. But not all good ideas take root.
Developing a clear vision and mission are key to accomplishing your goals. Without a clear vision, there is a lack of clarity on the goals and outcomes we are working towards. Think about it this way: Vision is the articulation of your desired future and mission is the plans and tactics of how you will arrive at that destination. Vision is usually determined by your burden and by your belief that it is possible to change things. Your mission is how your proposed solution will effect the needed change. These two things work together to paint a clear picture of how you will invest your time, energy and talent.
Vision Drives Mission
Most churches would cite John 3:16 and Matthew 28:16-20 (great commission) as the central verses that drive all that they do. We envision a world where people’s relationship with their creator is restored (vision) and therefore go and make disciples (mission). This is a great picture of vision and mission working together. When our vision is translated into a mission, we know how to direct our time and effort. Often the biggest gap within organizations is the translation of vision into practical mission and actions. You want to reach the next generation for Christ? Great … so does everyone else. What are you doing practically to make this happen? If the vision is to reach the next generation, then your mission should provide direction for you people how you plan to do that.
Mission Drives Activity
So, let’s say your vision is to see the millennials within your community return to the church and become a catalyst for the broader community. Then your mission may be to provide a relevant and authentic environment that is a safe place for seekers to engage. Those may sound like great words, but now what? You have the ‘what’ and the ‘how’, but lack the ‘go’ and the ‘do’. Your church has a unique calling. So what does it look like to create an authentic and relevant experience? What specifically are you going to do? If you are doing all the same programs and activities as the church down the road, why should people come to your church over theirs? Your mission to reach millennials should show up in how you structure your services, the events you host, and even the style and feel of your print materials. A great test we have is when someone has an idea, we compare that to our mission and vision.
Activity Drives Outcomes
Every listened to a band play a song when the musicians are not in sync with each other? Rough huh? When we operate our churches or organization in a way that our activities are not in alignment with our mission and vision, it creates the same discordant experience. But, when we are all in sync, things hum along in a way that delivers results. There is no guarantee that the outcomes are positive, but if you are operating in alignment with your mission and vision, you will have a framework to measure by. You have put in the hard work, not it’s time to see how your efforts connected? Did you hit your targets or not? What would you do differently next time to make it better? Asking evaluative questions in this phase helps you make the continual improvements to your approach.
Don’t lose sight of the vision
As you grow, still remaining rooted in your vision. It is easy to get some success and go down a rabbit trail or to hit a barrier and throw the baby out with the bathwater. Stay the course. Plan, execute, evaluate, revise and then repeat. This ritual of slow and steady improvement will help to keep your eyes opened to new ideas and possibilities.
As we ponder how we can think bigger and leverage our vision to do more, remember you aren’t in it alone. After all, the God that we serve is with us all the time. He is the one who enables us to do all we do for the glory of his kingdom.
How can you think bigger within your organization or ministry?