|mission, vision, and values . . . oh, my!|
When I was a kid I watched “The Wizard of Oz” like every other kid about once a year. I had sort of a love/hate relationship with the movie. I never told anyone, but some parts were really scary to me. I did NOT like the wicked witch or the evil winged monkeys. I also remember being really scared the first time Dorothy, Scarecrow and Tin Man met the lion. I know I wasn’t alone. There are few in our nation who don’t know where, “Lions, tigers, and bears. Oh, my!” came from!
I think a lot of pastors feel about the same way about mission, vision, and values. Scary. What in the world are they? How do they fit together (or do they)? And are they really that important? Sometimes people will talk about them like they are somehow connected to the second coming of Christ or something. Certainly, we aren’t going to see God move or church growth without them, right?
I’d like to set the records straight.
In your ministry I think they are important and can be extremely helpful in clarifying who you are, where you are going and how you will get there. That said, you can survive without them. You already knew that. There are thousands of churches in the world that don’t have a clear mission, vision, or values and some of them are doing quite well thank you. God is even showing up and changing lives on a regular basis.
So why this almost religious preoccupation with them? I will say, some people can get a little legalistic and pushy about all this strategic stuff. I try really hard NOT to be one of them, but it is hard.
For me, it can be compared to something like godly counsel in the lives of your congregation. Do you believe that godly counsel could be a valuable and important part of your parishioner’s lives? I’m pretty sure you do.
Do you think they can still survive, hear from God, and grow spiritually without it? Likely.
But you also likely believe that they would be missing a key ingredient in life that could greatly impact their spiritual growth, eliminate unnecessary heartache, and bring them to levels of maturity and spiritual health they could not otherwise obtain.
I think you get the point.
Your mission can help you and your congregation clarify WHO YOU ARE. It can play a huge role in focusing your leadership on your church being the church the way God designed you to be. Your vision can become an expression of what you believe that will look like one day. It is your hope for the future. Your values can act as your guide, or the guardrails, as you walk down the path from where you are to where you are going.
I hope to begin a series this week exploring each of these aspects of church life. Stay tuned for more mission, vision, and values . . . oh, my!