Vision: Why, What, & How

Annual Planning for the Church Part 1

Annual Planning for the Church Part 1: Vision

Knowing Why

Like people, organizations need to know why they exist, or they drift through life unanchored and tossed about. Some organizations have to search high and low to try and figure out why they are; not so the church. The church exists to glorify God as a community being transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.[1] There is a lot to this statement that should be pondered deeply. It is the essence of the church’s existence. Let’s call it the mission of the church. The WHY!

Knowing What

Organizations also need to know what it is that they are trying to accomplish. They should not simply busy themselves with lots of activities hoping that something in all the hustle and bustle is working. This reminds me of an old Peanuts cartoon that depicted Charlie Brown shooting arrows at a fence. After shooting an arrow he would then walk to the fence and draw a target and bulls-eye around the arrow. When Linus[2] questioned him about the order in which he was going about this he responded, “This way I never miss.” Of course, this can’t be the best approach. Unfortunately, this is how a lot of churches go about the work of God. They try anything and everything… flinging arrows at the fence. Then they draw targets around those arrows that seemed to be working.

Since the church exists to glorify God as a community it is imperative that the leadership of the church equips the church to be the church. That is what the church is actually trying to accomplish – to equip the church to be the church. Let’s call it the vision of the church. The WHAT!

It is imperative that the leadership of the church equips the church to be the church. Click To Tweet

Knowing How

Knowing the why and what are critical, but if the how isn’t quarried, the organization will flounder, ever to wander in the misty realms of theory. The church is no different. It too must establish how it will go about accomplishing the what. Since the reason for being is to glorify God as a community being transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ those being transformed must learn the gospel, live the gospel, and lead others to the gospel. Let’s call this the strategies of the church. The How!

This is the time of year that church leaders start to think hard about the next year and beyond. Revisiting (or articulating) the mission, vision, and strategies is step number one. Being freshly reminded of why there is a church, what the church is supposed to accomplish, and how it will go about that work is foundational to establishing plans for the coming year. Once these are crisp and bright in the heart and mind, plans can be made. Then the church can set about those plans with faith and determination.

See Part II of this Series

[1] 2 Cor. 3:18

[2] It might have been Lucy, I don’t remember.

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Brent Kimball
God rescued me through Christ from my sin and condemnation when I was 19 years old. Almost immediately I began to sense a call to pastoral ministry, which I entered into in 1994. My deep desire is to serve God by influencing people to follow Jesus and fulfill their role in and for the Kingdom of God. I relish the outdoors and am an avid big game hunter. I enjoy reading. My three favorite genres are Classic Christianity (think Chesterton, Lewis, and Tozer), Leadership (think Lencioni and Collins), and Non-fiction Adventure (think Lansing, Krakauer).