Where there’s no vision, the people perish…
— Proverbs 29:18

We find that people are often confused by the use of words like “Purpose”, “Vision” and “Strategy” and so we prefer to use words like Why?, Where? and What?

▿ Purpose (Why?)

Lead Academy believes that the foundation of church leadership is a clear, well-understood articulation of why your church exists. Behind every answer to this question are motivational beliefs. For instance, Martin Luther King was driven by the belief that God created all men and women equal, therefore he had a dream... The most effective churches are very clear on the beliefs that motivate them and therefore why they exist. It will come as no surprise then that these things remain constant, so it’s a vital foundation to have in place. The starting point for Leadership Teams is having shared motivational beliefs and therefore a clear and common “Why?”

▿ Vision (Where?)

In addition to achieving clarity and unity of Purpose, it is imperative that church leaders agree a clear Vision – in other words a compelling picture of the future that their church aspires to attain. This essentially should depict where you believe the church will be in the future, and what it will look like when you are fulfilling your Purpose. The best Vision statements describe a church’s future target state in a way that provides effective direction and guidance to current activities.

▿ Strategy (What?)

Once you are clear on Why your church exists, and Where you will be in the future, it’s essential to know What you need to do to get there. This is your Strategy – your current priorities and your plans, which will change over time, are driven by your purpose and vision but affected importantly by barriers that may be blocking your way. Good planning is good stewardship. Success in any endeavor requires careful preparation and planning. Without proper planning and preparation, you’re much less likely to fulfill your purpose. Anyone who has ever undertaken a complex task has already learned the importance of careful planning. Churches need to plan for their ministries and for all the resources needed to serve these ministries. Good planning conserves resources, prevents wasted effort, and saves time and money. Good planning prevents small problems from becoming big problems.

Purpose and Vision Creep

A very real risk of good plans and an active church busy achieving priorities, is that the church can lose sight of its Purpose and Vision.  This risk is simply that what you do starts to define your purpose rather than vice versa.  Unsurprisingly, when this starts to occur, clarity of purpose is steadily diminished and likewise unity starts to break down.  This underlines the great importance of reminding yourself of your Purpose, of keeping it in front of your Leadership Team and congregation, and of measuring yourselves against it.  Without this regular reinforcement, the likelihood is that a church will move away from its Purpose and Vision and consequently struggle to fulfil it.

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