One of the first things you need to do when creating or seriously revising a ministry is to create a vision. Proverbs tells us that without a vision, the people perish. People need to feel purpose. A vision gives the ministry a sense of direction. It allows you to filter through all the potentially good ideas to pick only the ones that are going to propel your ministry forward in the direction you feel God has called it to go. When you have limited recourses, the best way to get things accomplished is to Focus! Focus! Focus! A vision allows you to do this.
There are several books that helped us as we worked towards a vision (check the links below). With the help of the three current team members and a few others, we developed our first vision statement for our children’s ministry:
To provide the children in the Harborcreek, Lawrence Park, Wesleyville, and surrounding areas with a biblical, Christ-centered ministry which places high value on family involvement, experiential learning, friendship building, and fun. Our hope is to provide consistent outreach to our communities and to also provide discipleship to the children through small groups and mentoring.
A great start, but a little too long to remember. Using the above statement as a framework, we focused the vision a bit more and came up with:
To ignite a desire for a genuine and passionate relationship with Christ and to equip the kids for the spiritual battle that they are in.
Okay, your turn. Start by thinking about these questions.
What is the problem I am trying to address with this ministry? Is there a lack of biblical teaching and knowledge? Is there a low attendance problem? What kind of challenges are you facing? For those of you participating in the Ministry Blogger Challenge, it’s much the same as developing your elevator pitch.
Decide who you are going to focus on reaching. Do you want to focus on the neighborhood directly around your church or organization? Do you want to focus on a specific age group? This should be included in the vision.
How are you going to accomplish the vision? Is it through mentoring? Through small groups? Through consistent teachers? Think about this as you create your vision. You don’t have to have everything spelled out, but start to become mindful of a definite plan of discipleship.
A vision should be in use for at least five years or so. Don’t make your vision so short-sighted that you have to always be revising it. It should project an idea of success for the future. It should give everyone something to be working towards.
What was it again?
Make sure you vision is memorable. It will do no good to have a fantastic vision if no one in your ministry can remember it. (That’s why we had to change ours!) It is supposed to give your team members focus and direction. What good do directions do if you can’t remember them? In constructing your vision, feel free to elaborate on all the little details, but when making your vision public, shorten it up in order to make it memorable.
Above all, make sure the vision statement is yours. If it does not stir your heart within you towards the ministry and the work of God, it’s not finished yet. Keep working and revising, you’ll get it!
UPDATE: As of 2013, we have honed down our vision even more. Check out this post to find out all about it!