The other day, I wrote about mission statements and value statements. I also mentioned that it can be helpful to draft out a slightly longer statement describing what you might call the vision for the church.
This is not about arrogantly making grand claims about what you are going to achieve. Everything will be in God’s will and timing. However, I think it can be helpful to think in terms of what the impact of Gospel intentionality could be for your church and community over the next five to ten years. This is about giving you something to aim for.
So, when we were at Bearwood, we talked in terms of a desire to see Bearwood and Beyond transformed by the Gospel. This included a desire that whenever and wherever people wanted to hear and respond to God’s Word that we would be available for that. This was one of the reasons why we sought to multiply congregations and plant. We also had a desire that the church would increasingly reflect the community meaning that it would be intergenerational, multi-cultural and bridging the class divides.
However, we didn’t just think in terms of the church itself. We also thought in terms of how a community might be affected as more people put their trust in Christ and as believers sought to live out their faith in the workplace and among their neighbours. I do believe that where the Gospel is at work that there is an overflow of common grace affecting things like education, crime, community life etc. Again, describing that kind of vision helped us to think about the kinds of things we’d get involved in doing. It’s why we sought to have a High Street presence through the community café, why several of our members were school governors, why we hosted events like family fun days, mini festivals, arts days etc. It’s why we ran ESOL classes, provided emergency food help, organised a Jubilee Street Party and ran children’s clubs.
My current focus is slightly different. My concern is to encourage urban church planting and my vision/desire is not so much to see one church growing and becoming the biggest church. Rather, I want to see a city full of churches and for those churches to be reaching people from all backgrounds, especially the less reached. I hope too that such churches will be having a transforming impact on their community.
So, if you keep seeking to make disciples in your context, what might things look like for the church and the community in ten years?