What I learned from interviewing with churches: There’s no vision

Church vision and directionI talked with almost 40 churches over the past several months before taking the youth ministry position in Minnesota. Several reoccurring themes seemed to keep popping up as I asked questions and learned more about each church and their ministry.

First, most churches do not have a strong sense of where God is leading them. Instead of seeking God’s vision for their congregation and community, they steal God’s vision for Saddleback or Willow Creek, modify it a little and say, “This is our vision.” Most churches carry the generic mission statement of “making fully devoted followers of Christ.” I’ve observed through the interviewing process that Mark Batterson’s observation is true: the more vision a church has the less internal problems it has. He says, “Most church problems are vision problems.” (A post on this is coming sometime next week.)

Second, I like to take risks and experiment with ministry in new ways. In theory, most churches are attracted to new ideas and talk a lot about innovative plans, but few actually feel comfortable implementing them in practice. They feel safe and comfortable with how things have been running for the past 50 years. They’re more concerned with not offending anyone and eliminating controversy than they are about reaching lost souls.

Finally, many churches are content to coast on success they had years ago rather than continuing to pursue it for this current year. I heard lots of stories about big events and ministry ideas that were implemented and left a big impact on the community, but they were never repeated or improved upon. Discussion seems to stop at, “Wow, look what we did! That was so cool!” and they’ll tell their one story for years to come.

Posted on January 12, 2007

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