Friday, August 28, 2009

Churches and Vision Statements

Here's a good blog post from a friend and recent graduate of Denver Seminary:

Here's my favorite paragraph:

I’m also hesitant to jump on the bandwagon of the absolute necessity of vision statements simply because it’s such a new movement. Don’t get me wrong: I can see why it’s helpful. Clearly-articulated goals do help most people to move toward the Scriptural vision of the church. Without the leadership of the church setting out goals for, say, a new evangelistic program, that program probably won’t get done. But what I object to is the modern tendency to make “vision-casting” one of the fundamental, irreplaceable aspects of church life and pastoral ministry. Historically speaking, such an assertion is ludicrous. Isn’t it remarkable that the church survived (and actually grew) for more than nineteen hundred years without vision statements! Read any of the great classical texts on pastoral ministry; you’ll find virtually nothing on the topic of vision-casting and setting goals for the church. Rather, you’ll find the emphasis on other aspects, where I heartily believe the emphasis should be: the ministry of the Word and Sacrament; of teaching the Scriptures, praying, caring for individual members of the flock with spiritual guidance, and leading the church in its communal worship. The current emphasis on “vision,” “purpose statements,” “goals,” and “core values,” all comes from 20th- and 21st-century business-leadership models. It never existed in the church before that.

Christianity Today recently posted a similar critique to some of the churches various ministry activities:

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