Strangely, I don’t think vision / mission / strategy is the place to start – but it has to be near the top.
Once you get that a church only does 5 things, it’s time to articulate with laser clarity answers to 2 questions:
- what is the mission of the church – the what
- what is the strategy of the church – the how.
These are 2 distinct things. I say that with some fear and trepidation, since in the otherwise spectacularly helpful book Simple Church, Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger say they should be the same thing. But I think that’s a mistake. (Not one that is a deal breaker for the rest of the book – we could all do with being much more Simple churches!)
The What (mission) is a statement of what a person will be once all the doing has been done, after they have been reached out to, assimilated, and grown, what are they? What is the goal of all the stuff that the church does? What is it it trying to effect?
At CCIW, we say that that what the whole deal is shooting for is people who are growing more and more into fully devoted children of God, who know, love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ, his church and his world, in the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father. That’s our what. You ask us what we’re on about, it’s that.
But there is a second question – the How. Once a person has heard the gospel, come to Christ in faith, and been included in the fellowship of his disciples while we await his return, how do they grow? By what means does someone grow more and more into that particular kind of person?
At CCIW we have answered the How question. It is the 5 ‘means of grace’ – to quote the BCP – that grow a Christian: Corporate worship, a rich devotional life, joyous fellowship, serving in ministry, extending a gracious witness.
The answer to this question is absolutely crucial. Why? Because it seems to me that one of the single most important factors in growing a church is to make sure that the structure of the church’s growth programs reflect precisely the convictions you have about how people grow – otherwise, they simply won’t gain traction.
So, do you know your What and your How? And perhaps more importantly, could I tell your How from the structure of your programs?
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