By Mark Dance
Vertigo is a dizzying sensation that feels like the room is spinning. This is what pastors and members experience when they hear fuzzy declarations of vision, purpose, values, and mission.
If you suspect your church may have vision vertigo, please allow me to help by asking four probing questions about your vision.
1. How clear is your vision?
If I were to visit your church Sunday and randomly ask people in the hall what your church is all about, what would they say?
A clear pathway of discipleship should be obvious to even your guests because it’s seen throughout your facilities and publications, on stage, and in your online presence.
“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can offer a solution that everybody can understand.” General Colin Powell
A disciple-making church avoids vision vertigo by providing a clear path of growth with clear next steps.
2. How compelling is your vision?
Your mission statement may look good on your website and church walls, but does it compel people to move forward spiritually? A compelling vision won’t only be clear, but missional. This inspires your people to sacrifice their limited time and resources to go all-in.
In 1934, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was so embarrassed by the leaning tower of Pisa he had hundreds of holes drilled into the foundation to pump in tons of cement.
Instead of fixing the tilt, the heavy cement caused the base of the tower to sink deeper into the soil, resulting in an even more severe lean.
More is not always better.
Vision vertigo sets in when we get overwhelmed by the endless church programs on our calendars. It feels as if the sanctuary is spinning when we don’t have an clear vision that connects people to worship, discipleship, and missions.
Sharpening your vision focus requires the courage to say “no” to anything competing with the core vision of your church.
3. How consistent is your vision?
Once you have a clear and compelling vision, cast it consistently until you tire of it. Then do it some more.
Commit to sticking with your vision for several years because that’s how long it’ll take for your vision to stick. Resetting the norm in a church takes time and patience, so don’t rush the process.
Consistently celebrating your vision is the very best way to reinforce it. Each time you baptize someone, you have an opportunity to inspire each member to become a missionary. When a new musician joins your worship team—give them a shoutout.
When you launch a new group, applaud them from the stage. As you send out a new mission team, commission them in your worship services.
4. How personal is your vision?
Your commitment is paramount to the vision of your church. No fancy catchphrase can replace the strong example you set between Sundays.
People will follow their pastor’s example. But they can also follow a bad example.
For example, Barna Research found that only 20% of Christian adults are involved in discipleship, which includes groups and mentoring. I suspect that some church members’ lack of engagement with groups relates to their pastors’ disengagement.
Once you’ve overcome vision vertigo, lead your church by casting vision in a clear, compelling, and consistent way. This sets a great example for your church family.
MARK DANCE (@markdance) serves as director of Lifeway Pastors. He speaks at churches, conferences, and retreats–often with his wife Janet. Mark has contributed to several books and offers weekly encouragement at MarkDance.net.