CHURCH’S MINISTRY UNLEASHED
Planning for the future growth of our church isn’t much different from preparing for a great road trip. Most of the same steps apply:
- WE NEED TO KNOW WHY WE EXIST. We exist to fulfill the mission Jesus gave us to love God, love others and make disciples.
- WE NEED TO KNOW WHERE WE ARE. Every church is unique, as are the demographic factors around it. We’ll never figure out where we’re going until we determine where we are.
- WE NEED TO KNOW WHERE WE’RE GOING. We need to agree upon the preferred future of our church. That becomes the destination everyone is moving toward. That’s our vision.
- WE NEED TO KNOW HOW TO GET FROM OUR PRESENT LOCATION TO OUR FUTURE DESTINATION. This is where we answer the question of what our church will do to fulfill the vision, and develop a clear, practical strategy to get everyone moving in the right direction.
- WE HAVE TO DETERMINE THE COST. Every dream, every vision has a cost to fulfill it. We have to count the cost before embarking on the journey. Our church’s journey to growth is no different.
- WHY DO WE EXIST? – OUR MISSION
Holy Family’s Mission is: Love God, Love Others, and Make Disciples. In Matthew 22:36-40, a young man approached Jesus and asked Him: “Teacher, which is the great commandment?” Jesus said to them: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind’. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” In Matthew 28:19-20, in His last words before going back to the father, Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commended you”.
Jesus gives us the mission of the Church right here, right from the beginning. Despite the universal nature of Jesus’ Great Commission, every local church does it differently. There are many ways to become a disciple. How we engage people in a way that helps them grow as disciples will differ.
Therefore, we need to consider where our church is, and where we are going before describing how we can get there.
- WHERE ARE WE? – OUR PRESENT LOCATION
Few things disorient us more than not knowing where we are. As frustrating as it is to be a driver and not know where you are, it’s even more difficult to be a passenger. And – we can’t have a good idea of where we’re going until you know where you’re coming from. Gallup, DMI surveys.
- WHERE ARE WE GOING? – OUR VISION
Some road trips are more difficult than others, but you can endure just about anything if you know you’re getting closer to a preferred destination. That’s the power of vison. Our vision for our church’s future should empower our congregation/church to push through challenges. “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov.29:18.) But the opposite is also true: Where there is vision, people thrive.
WHAT IS VISION?
Simply put, vision is what our church could be and should be. A vision statement, for example, can’t simply describe the current reality of our church. Instead, it describes the destination. It’s what we believe God will bring to pass.
A vision statement should describe the future with a picture of where our church is going. Show, don’t just tell. Think of Revelation 21-22, where God provides a vision of humanity’s future. It’s full of images, particularly the crystal-clear image of the City of God, the new Jerusalem. Those two chapters are full of colorful descriptions. That’s showing rather than telling! The entire passage explodes with vision. The Apostle John is telling generations of Jesus-followers what their future destiny is. He doesn’t just want you to read it. He wants the words to jump off the page and grab you. That’s what real, compelling vision does. Church and ministry leaders must then own and live the vision. Our vision will be caught far more easily than it is taught.
We are working with Amazing Parish to develop our vision, and will be sharing our progress with you later.
- HOW DO WE GET THERE? – OUR STRATEGY
Knowing where we are and where we are going is key. Next, we need to know how to get to our destination – we need a map!
WHY DO WE NEED A MAP?
Maps help you get where you want to go effectively and efficiently. As a leader, you have a choice. You can choose to go with the flow, serve your parish, and try to reach your community as opportunities unveil themselves. But nothing will unleash the hidden potential of our church quite like having a plan for moving ministries forward. “Churches can experience a level of success without a plan, but those who invest the time and resources into developing a specific strategy and plan can achieve success at a much quicker pace,” writes Patricia Lotich, who assists churches through strategic planning processes. In fact, our church needs a plan for growth much like weary travelers need a map on a long road trip. For example:
- COHESIVE EFFORT – A MAP WILL KEEP THE TRAVELERS TOGETHER. When no clear, compelling plan exists for a church, everyone will improvise their own plans. Disunity is then inevitable. With a plan, the church can move forward together. Does a plan guarantee unity? Of course not. Plans — even good, thorough, Jesus-centered plans — can cause disunity for a time. But, as a general rule, plans lead to unity.
- MOVEMENT FORWARD – A MAP PROVIDES HOPE DURING THE LONG, FRUSTRATING PARTS OF THE JOURNEY. If you know where you are, where you’re going, and how you’ll get there, the stress is easier to bear.
- MEASURE OF SUCCESS – A MAP PROVIDES A QUICK VIEW OF HOW FAR YOU’VE COME. A map is a great reminder of where you’ve been and provides a great opportunity to celebrate your success. Any good growth plan will allow you to measure your church’s movement toward your objectives. That will allow you opportunities to celebrate “wins” with your church on a regular basis.
Taking into account what makes our church unique (Where are we?) and your vision statement (Where are we going?). Our strategy, along with our mission is meant to bridge the gap between the two.
We are also working with Amazing Parish to develop our strategy, and will be able to share some of our work so far with you this evening.
- WHAT IS THE COST?
When we accept our mission, embrace our vision, and adopt the strategy – the cost is our full commitment. As leaders of this church our actions and behaviours will define to others what it means to be a disciple. We need disciples and to make disciples who will fulfill our mission. The number one job description for every leader in our church is to model the mission. If the mission isn’t important enough to our leaders, there’s no way it is important enough for the rest of our church. It’s an expectation for everyone.
In conclusion – It is our hope that with our time together this evening, that we begin the shared work of planning, building and laying out our road map to fulfill our mission here at Holy Family.