By Chris Turner
Director of Communications, TBC
The Great Commission is in the DNA of every church (or at least it should be), and hopefully every church has as its vision the idea of “reaching people for Jesus Christ.” But unfortunately, too often the community around the church doesn’t know that’s the vision because church members don’t know that’s the vision or don’t understand how to transfer it beyond the church.
Vision statements are great, but every “vision” begs the question: Are the actions of the church and the responses of the church’s members harmoniously working together to reach the vision for everyone’s benefit?
It’s a question few churches consider and one that has everything to do with how the church is viewed from both inside and outside. According to Businessdictionary.com, a vision statement is, “an aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish … and is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.” However, no church operates in a vacuum and it needs its members to embrace the vision if the church is going to “achieve or accomplish” its goal to both reach people for Christ and disciple them to maturity.
In an age of growing suspicion of religious institutions, churches can no longer assume a place of influence or respect in their communities. If your church leadership wants to share ownership of its vision with its members and extend influence into the community for the sake of the gospel, it has to embrace the “3 Vs.”
Visibility. It is virtually impossible to influence people or a community if your church isn’t even on anybody’s radar. A lack of visibility means a lack of relevancy and irrelevant churches will never influence anyone, even their own members. In fact, churches plateau and die. So, the first step toward becoming relevant is to become noticed (for all the right reasons). First, is the church relevant to its members? Second, are the members raising the visibility of the church in the community? Frankly, the sign of a healthy church is how people in the community view the church, not how the church views itself.
Value. Okay, now your church and its members have gotten people’s attention, but why should they care? Answer: value. Your church must deliver excellence and value at every touchpoint. Remember, people formulate an opinion about your church and its members by everything you do (or don’t do). Think about it, you don’t do business with organizations in which you find no value so why would you expect the lost to be interested in your church if you aren’t delivering value to them? Consistently delivering value cultivates an emotional connection with people. That builds trust and loyalty, and opens the door to influence — which means openness to receiving the gospel message.
Vision. When church members and those in the community perceive your church has value, they ascribe worth to your church, to the direction it is going, and get excited about joining in the venture. Church leaders can ask for participation and others will come along because they see something they want to be a part of. Most importantly, it’s the opportunity to influence, and influence is the engine that drives the vision statement of reaching people for Christ.
However, remember, the “3 Vs” never end and are the foundation for driving a constant cycle of raising the influence of a church in its community. So, repeat after me: “Raise visibility, increase value, transfer vision; raise visibility, increase value, transfer vision; raise visibility …”