A Simple Secret to Increase Your Community Impact

Will Mancini: “Are you ready to give all of yourself to the one thing that God has given your church to do?”

Notice a few things about this focused vision: It’s for everyone and it’s for every day. It is not primarily about programming at the church, but impact through the church.

Another example is Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, which used a season of focus to reverse decline. World-renowned Bible teacher Adrian Rogers led Bellevue for more than three decades. Several years ago, Steve Gaines became the senior pastor after a troubled transition. How would a church with such a storied history and identity around one pastor grow into the future? They also took the time to put a magnifying glass over the biblical imperative to make disciples. The result? Their daring dream is to be a catalyst of spiritual awakening in the city of Memphis in the next 10 years. The vision has led to innovative practices like inviting other multiethnic church leaders in their city to preach during shared worship experiences. The church has gained tremendous momentum since the vision’s rollout with the integration of serious disciple-making metrics, along with numerical and financial growth.

A third example is Harvest Church in Billings, Montana. Their vision is to rebuild the reputation of the church in the eyes of the community. The senior pastor, Vern Streeter, was prompted to start a church when the builder of a new master planned community declared they would not allot land to a church. The community’s verdict was in: Local churches provide no value. Now Harvest aims to revitalize the rural relevance of the gospel in the Mountain West and is fueling multisite expressions in small towns within a 500-mile radius of the church. They go only where there is no life-giving presence of God’s people.

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All of these churches have a shared passion to fulfill the same Great Commission. But their focus is entirely unique, guided by a one-of-a-kind vivid picture of the future.

Getting There From Here

The most important question to answer is how you move past a generic vision to really focus on your church’s ultimate contribution.

Several years ago I hit the 10,000-hour mark of facilitated collaboration with church teams. It was about that time that I began to see patterns in how God’s people dream. After some dedicated reflection time, I developed a tool that summarized my 15 years of consulting. The tool is called the 12 vision templates, which were recently released in the book God Dreams: 12 Vision Templates to Find and Focus Your Church’s Future. The 12 vision templates fit in to four big categories: advance, rescue, become and overflow.

The book has a dedicated section just for lay leaders to read historical, biblical and contemporary examples of the templates and provide their thoughts to their pastoral leaders.

Clear Creek’s vision is connected to the geographic gospel saturation template (advance).

Bellevue’s vision developed from the presence manifestation template (become).

Harvest’s vision is tied to the institutional renovation template (rescue).

The value of the 12 templates is simple: Get your team together to accelerate the dialogue and galvanize unity. It jumpstarts the creation of a picture idea that you can color in over time. Most importantly, it brings new energy and enthusiasm to your leadership team.

Are you ready to move beyond generic to the meaningfully specific? Are you ready to give all of yourself to the one thing that God has given your church to do?

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Ministry without clarity is insanity. Life is too short and ministry is too hard not to have a focused vision that powerfully aligns everything and everyone in your church. Is it time to grab a magnifying glass and two days with your leaders?

Start a wildfire of redemptive movement and dramatically increase the impact of your church—in your community, in your lifetime.

Will Mancini is the founder and team leader of Auxano, a church consulting company that specializes in vision clarity. For more information: WillMancini.com, or follow him on Twitter @WillMancini. Download a special set of free tools to help with your retreat at the website GodDrea.ms.