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Your church doesn’t need a vision statement. In 12Church, we are figuring out how to be and make disciples in this time and this place, which includes of course, being all in on mission with Jesus. I really wish that’s what all churches were obsessing about rather than going through all of these exercises, trying to figure out their unique vision and unique mission and all that kind of stuff. There is a little place for that, but not the level of obsession that I’m seeing in many churches.
Before I address the fruitless, time-wasting, unbiblical practice of church vision statements, a bit of background. I pastored three different churches over 18 and a half years and spent some time in the professional speaking, internet marketing world. For the last decade plus I’ve been a transitional pastor and coach going into churches typically in crisis between lead pastors, walking through a process, getting them back to a semblance of health and helping them find a new leader.
Today I’m very pleased to announce that 12Church, a long time theoretical concept, has finally come to some sense of fruition. At least the seeding of it has happened in that we have officially started our alternative model of church based on missional communities, with some other little tweaks to the set-up. The basic idea is we’re built around groups that have a heavy emphasis on evangelism.
We never plan to have a building. We never plan to have a full-time pastor. In fact, my role, even at this initial roll-out stage is just kept to 20 hours a week and we intend to keep it that way. It should be a lean mean, scalable, sustainable system.
Just the other day I was listening to a pastor who is a Christian leader who I respect greatly, but he said something that made me kinda sit up in my seat and question what I heard. I came to the conclusion that I had to disagree with him, and in disagreeing, I realized what this man stated explains a lot of challenges that we’re facing in the church right now.
The statement had to do with this fellow expressing his call to build the church. When he said that, I stopped and thought to myself that Jesus is the one who builds the church and that our call is to make disciples that as we make disciples. The church grows and Jesus puts the body together and builds the church.
The big question of the day is who are the fish? Who are you fishing for? I was going to call this topic, who are you hunting, but the appropriate bit of biblical metaphor is fishing. He calls us to fish for people, not hunt for people though. Perhaps if Jesus was in a different cultural context, he would have used the phraseology of hunting and made it work.
But we will stick with the biblical picture of fishing and ask the question who are the fish, you know, in business and marketing. There’s a lot of talk about target audience and customer avatar. It almost sounds like a new agey kind of thing.