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Forming ministry out of identity, not function

IdentityMy church is going through the whole vision casting thing right now. Our current vision is pretty old and no longer reflects who we are. We’ve been hashing through a new vision every week in our staff meetings and it’s actually been a very stretching process. The vision has to be detailed enough to evaluate ministries and point our church in the right direction, but it has to be simple enough for everyone in the congregation to remember and articulate.

The hardest part is that vision must start with identity (who we are) and move to function (what we do). Usually churches put the cart before the horse and go straight to function (i.e. programs to accomplish such-and-such) without really thinking through who they are and why they do what they do. Identity is hard to grasp, but, in our opinion, it starts with Ephesians and then must move to, “What is our unique identity that makes us different from every other church out there?” Unfortunately, many church’s just find some other big church’s mission, vision, strategy, etc and adopt it for their own, thinking it will grow their numbers or make them like the other church, but nothing could be more crippling! We need to discover our own unique identity as a congregation in our specific town and context and then let our ministry flow out of who we are.

One of our associate pastors led the church staff through a discussion where we brainstormed “who we are” and “what we are becoming” based on key passages in Ephesians. He was gracious enough to provide me with those study notes to share with you all.

A book most of the pastors at my church have read is called, “Simple Church: Returning to God’s process for making disciples” by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger. I haven’t read it yet, but they speak highly of it as we’re going through this process. I have the book here in front of me, I just need to sit down and read it sometime soon.

Microsoft WordBible study notes from Ephesians about our identity and our “becoming”


Posted on September 18, 2007

  • Hey Tim,
    We just did the same thing at our church with the same book! Have fun. It’s a good read. It will be interesting in how it pans out for us.

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