What is your congregation passionate about? What’s your purpose? Sonya Luna encourages churches to answer these questions by creating a vision board to see this dream come to life.
Coordinator of Hispanic/Latinx Ministries, Michigan Conference
What’s God going to say to my questions? I’m braced for the worst. I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon. I’ll wait to see what God says, how he’ll answer my complaint. And then God answered: “Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. This vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time” (Habakkuk 2:1-3, The Message).
Over winter break, I created two vision boards. I find it helpful to see my vision for the new year visually. I made a collage board with magazine cutouts for my personal and professional visions. I also created a vision quilt with fabric. A vision board helps me focus on my goals for the year, and it assists me in answering the questions that I have. It helps me know what to do and encourages me to move toward that vision.
It is important to have a vision. When I would facilitate Pentecost Journey workshops at local churches, our closing service would focus on the Habakkuk 2 passage presented above. The workshop was about developing ministries with the Hispanic/Latinx community. The workshop was set up so that a local church would leave with a clear vision. Like the prophet was asked by God in the scripture, local churches were asked to write a big, bold vision statement. They were asked to write a one-sentence vision for Hispanic/Latinx ministries in their local church. The local church then would share its vision at the end of the closing service.
I encourage you to write a vision statement for your local church. The Habakkuk passage encourages you to look around and write what you see. Then, write what you see is coming next. Write what aches to be seen and write it in big letters so it can be seen from afar.
Writing a vision statement might be easier said than done. You can take my lead and start with a visual vision board. You can cut out pictures that represent your church and community. You can cut out pictures that represent your offerings and your services. You can find pictures that speak to your mission work.
After creating your visual vision board, you can put your vision into words. One helpful tool I found is an exercise from the book The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map of Success by Jennifer Lee. She suggests using the following two-statement prompt:
I am passionate about . . .
My purpose is to . . .
Now in the church setting, you can change the “I” to “we.” So an example of a vision statement for a church could be something like this:
We are passionate about sharing the love and grace of Jesus with the Mossville community. Our purpose is to be a community center for all.
Lee also suggests that if you struggle to create a statement, you can use a metaphor or a simile. She uses this example: “My business is a butterfly because it helps people to transform.” It might take time for the vision to unveil itself. Try out different statements and share them with your congregation and the community. See which one speaks the most to them.
After you create your vision, celebrate with your church and the community. Share your big, bold vision in a fun way. Everyone needs to see this vision and celebrate the work God is doing. One fun way to share your vision is to print your statement on a T-shirt. My friend showed me a company called Threadless.com that prints shirts on demand. So go forth and have fun creating a vision for your church for this new year, and then celebrate once you have completed the process.