VISION: 10 Ways We Keep The Vision In Front Of Us At Essential Church

I was recently asked how we communicate and keep the vision at Essential Church.  Our simple vision is,
“Magnify Christ, Multiply His Kingdom.”
 Here are 10 things we do to stay focused on the vision.
1.  Explain our vision to our church every single Sunday during our morning welcome.  Each week I take about 90 seconds to include in the welcome a short summary of our vision like this- “Our vision is to ‘Magnify Christ, Multiply His Kingdom.’ What that means is that everything we do is focused on bringing Christ the glory.  It’s not about the people on stage, it’s not even about our church, it’s about making Christ great in our lives.  We are also about multiplying His Kingdom, which means our focus is not on growing our church but on making disciples and serving in the community where God is at work around us.”
  This weekly vision casting is simple and memorable enough that everybody who has attended Essential church more than 2 or 3 times knows it.  
We want everyone who ever attends our church to know from day one what Essential Church is all about.
2.  We go deeper with our vision during our Discover Essential Class.
 Our Discover Essential class is the pathway to membership at Essential.  During that time we take a more extensive look at our vision and communicate with prospective members how the vision plays out both in our personal lives and church ministries.
3.  We do an annual “Vision Sunday” message in September (2015 message here
.)  The Vision Sunday message is both a reminder of our broad vision as well as an unveiling of our specific vision goals and how we are seeking to contextualize the vision in the year ahead.  We emphasize that the vision is much more about what we are striving to become than what we are striving to do.
4.  We have an annual theme which accentuates a special emphasis of our vision each year.
  The first three to four messages of the year focus on that theme.  Our 2015 theme is “Relentless: A Relentless Pursuit of God, A Relentless Pursuit of the People He Loves.” In January we began the year with four messages that unpacked how that theme looks in our personal lives as well as our church.  We also created a nice banner that stays up on stage all year long as well as “Relentless” t-shirts that we gave to our members.
5.  For church partners, we create a prospectus that highlights our vision.
 As a church planter, I am still casting vision to potential church partners.  The prospectus is a necessary tool for summarizing the vision and the plan for those churches that are interested in partnering with Essential.  With our current partners, I regularly reach out to them for prayer, share highlights of what God is doing and cast vision for future involvement through mission teams and special ministry needs.
6.  Every summer, I take a personal prayer and planning retreat to seek the Lord’s direction in our vision and next steps.
 This time allows an opportunity for reflection, prayer and strategic thinking as well as reading and being challenged through extensive time in Scripture.
7.  Bring the vision to our Spiritual Leaders and Staff.
 We have been raising up Godly men who are being trained for Spiritual Leadership within the church through the ASPIRE process.  As the Lord lays the vision before me, I am bringing certain vision related decisions to them before bringing it to the larger congregation.  I also take this same approach with our staff team, giving them an opportunity to hear and get excited about the vision before the congregation.  This enhances vision “buy in” as they help create a culture of acceptance and excitement for the vision.
8.  Submit the vision to the wisdom and approval of our Essential Advisory Team.
 Every vision related decision is discussed and approved by our Essential Advisory Team (this is an outside leadership team in place for us until we commission local Elders).  It is important for me to have a group of men who have wisdom and authority to speak into issues related to our vision.  I must continually humble and submit myself to their guidance so that we discern rightly what the Spirit is leading us to do as a church.
9.  Hold our Spiritual Leaders accountable to living out and modeling the vision.
 If the leaders of the church are not embodying the vision, we cannot expect our church to do so.  We continually train, inspire and challenge our leaders to stay Christ-centered and focused on being kingdom minded.  We also expect our spiritual leaders to be praying, serving, tithing, worshipping and making disciples.
10.  Embodying the vision myself.  As the old saying goes, “leadership is more caught than taught.”
 The greatest impediment to the vision is a pastor who does not model it himself.  I am continually evaluating myself and asking the Lord to search my heart and reveal to me where I need to grow in living out the vision personally.  When the Pastor is actively seeking to live out the values he is proclaiming from the pulpit, it gives great credibility and authority to his message.
No church is perfect and there will never be a perfect execution or embodiment of the vision.  These simple steps help us to keep the vision “front and center” before our church as we continually strive to
“Magnify Christ, Multiply His Kingdom.”