The Power of Clarity in Your Church’s Vision

By Matt Steen

Tears were streaming down his face as he silently wept:

“I can see it so clearly… I just haven’t had the ability to put it into words… which makes people think I don’t know where we are going.”

Clarity is powerful.

One of my most favorite things to do through my work with Church Simple is to help church leaders clearly communicate what it is that they are called to… and then helping them do it.  In this case, the process was incredibly moving.

I am becoming convinced that the church in this country is not lacking of vision… it is the rare church leader that does not have a vision for where God is taking them.  What I think is missing in many churches is a sense of clarity when it comes to that vision: a way to express it clearly, concisely, and with authority.

Vision statements can be incredibly powerful tools to rally your congregation around your calling… or they can be incredibly obtuse statements that make people yawn in powerful new ways.  The difference is how you approach crafting your vision statement, and whether you are making a statement, or calling to action.  I fully believe that we have been called to action by the great commission and great commandment… and should be calling our people to action as well.  With this in mind, here are four qualities of a great vision statement:

  • Vivid.  Paint a picture.  Be clear about where you are going and what it will look like.  If your people do not fully understand what your vision statement is calling them to, you will never achieve it.
  • Inspiring.  I am sick of boring vision statements.  If you want me to fully invest myself in the vision and mission of your church you need to call me to something bigger than myself, something worthy of the time, talents, and treasure that I will be sacrificing in order to make it happen.  Don’t tell me what we are, tell me where we are going… and make it a big deal.
  • Memorable.  The school that I worked with in Baltimore had a vision statement that took up a full sheet of paper (actually they had two, posted on opposite walls… but that is a bigger problem for another time).  If you were to ask teachers, administrators, or anyone involved in the school to recite, or paraphrase, either of those statements you would have gotten a blank stare.  Your vision statement needs to be clear and concise in order for it to be memorable.  Vision statements that aren’t memorable are worse than having no vision statement at all.
  • Preachable.  If you can not point back to your church’s vision statement during your sermon on a regular basis it is useless.  The power of a vision statement is its ability to clearly define who you are as a church and where you are going.  If you are not referring back to it regularly, it may be time to ask yourself whether you, and your vision, are headed in the same direction.
What makes YOUR church’s vision statement great?

If you are working to create a vision statement for your church, I would love to assist you if I can.  If you are looking for more thoughts on church vision, you need to check out what Will Mancini is up to, or buy his book.  Either way, this is too important to not do well.

Matt Steen

Matt Steen loves seeing the church thrive.  Currently serving as a Church Concierge with Church Simple, Matt has served as an executive pastor, youth pastor, and planted a church in Baltimore.  Matt lives on Long Island with his wife Theresa where he secretly leads a resistance movement against the New York Yankees (this might be the Orioles year... or not).  You can follow Matt on twitter (@matt_steen) or at ChurchThought.