Thursday, December 11, 2008

Making Vision Stick

I read a short little book last night called Making Vision Stick by Andy Stanley, the pastor at Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta. This 75-page book gives Stanley's insights on how to make sure that the vision of an organization is remembered and owned by everyone. Here are a few of his insights and how I see them working in the Hill Country Bible Church.

(1) State the vision simply. Our vision as a church is very simply - to see every man, woman, and child in Greater Austin have the chance to experience the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ because they hear the gospel from the lips of someone at a Hill Country Bible Church. Though our statement is long, it is one sentence and uses language that is common in our church culture. The main phrase that we throw around a ton is every man, woman, and child. We are committed to seeing every person in our city get personally introduced to Jesus Christ.

(2) Cast the vision convincingly. We try to share the details of our vision with our congregation at least twice during the year. We always have "vision Sunday" where we talk about what it means to be a church who takes the mission that Jesus gave the church seriously. We always spend time in Acts 1:8 and share our part in reaching every man, woman, and child. Stanley says to cast the vision convincingly we need to a) define the problem - I could do better here to help our congregation own the lostness of our city, b) offer a solution - for us it is using our lives and our voices to personally share the gospel, and c) present a reason - hopefully the urgency of sharing the gospel comes through in our belief that Christ could return at any time.

(3) Repeat the vision regularly. As I mentioned before, we share the vision corporately at least twice a year, but we could do more to make sure that our vision is discussed at the small-group level and in one-to-one discipleship. Stanley is right that it is not enough for the main communicator to share the vision from the pulpit, the vision must be discused regularly in other venues (elder meetings, staff meetings, retreats, small groups, etc.).

(4) Celebrate the vision systematically. Are we celebrating as a congregation whenever people are exposed to the gospel through personal communication and then experience the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ. We are doing a good job of this during advent this year by having couples share their testimony as we light the candles each week. But we could do more - we could start more of our meetings by celebrating wins that support our vision and spending less time on trivial issues. This is a very important reminder for me.

(5) Embrace the vision personally. Barie and I are here on this one; even with four kids, we are interested in giving our time and energy away in order to connect with others in our neighborhood and our city so that we can share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. We have been blessed to see some fruit from that over the last 2 years, and we pray we will see even more. But beyond that, we so believe in this vision that we are giving our lives to invest financially and personally in what God is calling us to do. I hope others see in us that we are personally interested in seeing every person get exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

You can use this grid for any organization. It is helpful to remember the importance of vision.

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