I am currently reading a book by Will Mancini titled Church Unique. In his book Mancini put into words a paradigm shift that has been taking place in my own heart. For years churches have built their growth structure under a mission statement and a twelve step process of how to get there. This type of system thrived in a world where the church was playing with home field advantage.
Unfortunately we are now living in a post-Christian world. People today do not know exactly who Jesus is. Sure they may have heard of him, sure they may know some details about his life, but they do not really know or understand his mission and his love. The church is now playing as the visiting team, having to overcome a lot of crowd noise and boos just to get a play off. Because of this the twelve step process is on its way out and a new system is entering.
Up until the last 9 months I believed the twelve step process was the way to go. I had thought and dreamed of many systems of how to be a better and bigger church by a particular date. I had even come up with a slogan, corny or not, that was based on the year 2020. I wanted to call it “2020 Vision: A clear vision for the year 2020.” I thought this would be a great ten year plan for 2020 and play off the idea of perfect eye sight. While that might have worked in the Christian era, I now believe it is not the best route.
As my mind is starting to wrap around this new idea, I am quickly coming to believe that the best way, is to make a plan based off of who you want to be as a church. Throw out the programs, throw out the numbers goals, and decide what kind of church you want to be. Develop a mission statement, and then base everything you do off of the mission statement. Decide what kind of people your church wants to reach and do everything you can to reach that kind of people. Decide that you are not going to hire staff to get a job done, but that you are going to equip your people to get that job done. Sure there is planning still involved, sure you must account for growth and have some provisions in place to handle it. But the step by step vision casting is no longer the same, it is has evolved, it has changed, and it is working to meet a post-Christian world where they are.
Like I said this is a paradigm shift for me, and I am still working through it. But I am eager to see where this leads me, and what kind I vision and plan we cast for future growth in the Lord’s church for the lost people of this world.