Most of us are thinking about our plans for 2011. I suggest that your resolution for this year is to develop a plan for next year. By next year I mean 2012.
Yep, I’m giving you an entire year to procrastinate on a resolution.
I encourage you to have a vision and a set of goals in place by the end of 2011. So the good news is that you have a year. The bad news is that if you do it right it could easily take a year.
Reverend Dirk Elliott from the Conference Staff recommends Making Vision Stick by Reverend Andy Stanley. Rev. Stanley has several books out on church vision and I recommend them all, but in this book he really talks about getting your vision to push down from the church leaders to all the folks in the pew. He says there are three ways to make vision stick, to make you a leader worth following: 1. Cast vision strategically. 2. Celebrate vision systematically. 3. Live your vision continuously.
A good vision should percolate up from the bottom, develop from the congregation with some guidance from church leaders. The leaders should have a process of formalizing and prioritizing what has been offered then the vision should flow back down so that everyone is on board with it.
A good vision can do many things for your church. It can create excitement, it can invite folks on the fringe to participate in the planning and dreaming for the church, it can create a sense of purpose for a very comfortable but ineffective congregation, and most importantly it is a blueprint for how your church will be about the business of making and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Along the way those warm fuzzies are likely to translate into real things, like increased attendance and financial support. And it might give those busy bodies in your brood a more positive way to expend their church energies.
Get your key church leaders together and begin your dreams for the church. But don’t wait too long, you only have 52 more weeks to get it done.