Rick Warren has recently reminded me that the number one responsibility of leadership in the church is to continually clarify and communicate the vision of the church. The leader of the church (AKA the pastor) must constantly answer the question: Why are we here? The job of the leader is to keep the church on track with the original New Testament purpose of the church.
When I first came to the Chapel as Pastor I convened a group of the present and past lay leaders to develop a vision and long range plan. Usually an organization has a vision and calls a CEO to implement the vision. In the case of the Chapel it was the reverse. They called me to be their pastor and we came up with our mission statement. As we have grown in our congregational life and new members have joined there is a constant temptation to expand our mission and try to do many things. They are all good things, but in the process we may lose our sense of who we are and why we are here. The leader can become the manager of all the programs and causes the church supports, and compromise his leadership task.
In my sixteen years as pastor I have felt the need to clarify and communicate the vision of the church. We are here to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are here to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We are here to build up the Body of Christ which is the church. We are here to encourage one another in the faith to be servants of Christ in our community and throughout the world.
In the next five years we will focus on developing mature Christian disciples who will be able to compassionately respond to the needs of others. Our 2020 Vision text will be Colossians 1:28 “We preach Christ, warning people not to add to the Message. We teach in a spirit of profound common sense so that we can bring each person to maturity. To be mature is to be basic. Christ! No more, no less.” (The Message)
If this is our vision we need to be clear about it to all who belong to our congregation. The vision should drive the budget. The vision becomes our passion and our prayer. We should eliminate programs that don’t propel the vision or activities that siphon energy from the vision. We don’t allow those who disagree with the vision or who cannot support it to undermine it. We don’t sponsor programs that obscure the vision. We continually clarify and communicate our vision to ourselves and to the world. We need to be clear on why we are here and not try to be something else.