Tuesday, 17 November 2009


At college today we were discussing that dreaded thing called 'VISION' and how, as church leaders, we can clearly ariculate and achieve the vision for the church.

We were looking at where a vision comes from, how to articulate it, how to achieve it etc etc.

We discussed what makes a good vision, what makes a bad vision and how the church can pursue their vision.

I sat there feeling really confused and anxious.

I just keep thinking that the UK church is really missing the point.

Rather than having a 'vision' for the church, should we not have an 'imagination' for the community in which we find ourselves in?

I believe the UK Church has so missed the point in terms of mission and 'being' church. The big elephant in the room that people don't really want to talk about is church decline. So we have vision casting after strategy talks to stop ourselves from confronting the issue. Yet all our 'vision' discussion revolves around what the church should be, rather than about what the community could become through the church.

A Prophetic Imagination.

But then maybe it's me that's missing the point completely...


Sam Norton said...

No, you haven't missed the point. BTW your RSS feed isn't working right (it's only sending headlines, not the body text).

Tim Abbott said...

A wise friend from YWAM once observed that vision can too easily split churches. It goes like this:
+ The leadership discusses what the vision of the church is.
+ They 'cast the vision' to the church
+ Half the church 'go for it', because they agree it's right for the church, or they are prepared to trust the leadership anyway or a combination of both.
+ Half the church don't 'get it' because they can't see how it is relevant to them / their wider network / the community and eventually leave or drift away.

Vision seems to be about us asserting a direction, purpose, doing stuff. It doesn't seem to say much about who we are, how we will 'be', what people will find when they engage with us.

Also, surely the diversity of skills, networks, abilities, gifting and calling across a congregation mean that potentially there could be a wide variety of expressions of church life and mission which will not easily come under one umbrella of vision, unless it's very broad, like, "to see our neighbourhood impacted with God's love" or something. That should leave room for everyone to be a part of what the church is doing.

Joe Haward said...

Sam - Cheers on both points! Is the feed working now?

Tim - Completely agree with you. Church vision stuff actually makes us quite inward looking I think. We talk in terms of 'reaching out' but are constantly looking inwards because of our 'vision'. But, if we have an imagination for our community then maybe we might be heading somewhere...

Tom Haward said...

Maybe the Church needs to stop modeling itself on capitalist business structures where vision, objectives, goals and outcomes are a vital part to its success.

I think you'll do well to help churches look through the lens of love rather than objectives though, as the Evangelical wing's vision of what Church should be seems to be rather influential in the West.

Joe Haward said...

I think you are right bro. I am more and more convinced that when we have a 'vision', people become a 'resource' to use to enable that vision to take shape. So people in the church are a resource and people outside of the church are a target to become a resource.

If love becomes the focus though then it radically changes things.