Change versus Preference: Is a congregation willing to make/accept changes that will attract those currently outside the church even if those changes are not their own preferences?
Vision: A Vision Statement talks about the church’s future. It lists where the church sees itself some years from now and outlines WHERE the church wants to be in the future.
An effective Vision statement:
- Is clearly focused – is NOT ambiguous. It paints a vivid and clear picture.
- Describes a bright future (hope and faith) using memorable and engaging expression.
- Includes achievable, realistic aspirations that are aligned with the church’s values and culture.
- Is time bound if tied to achieving a goal or objective – a clear timeline.
Mission: A Mission Statement talks about the church’s present. It lists the broad goals for which the church was formed and outlines HOW the church will get to where it wants to be.
An effective Mission statement:
- Defines the purpose and values of the church.
- Describes what “business” the church wants to be in (what ministries, services, markets, consumers segments… ideas).
- Describes who the church’s primary “customers” are (congregation and/or non-believers) and the lists the responsibilities of the church towards these “customers”.
- Identifies the main objectives which support the church in accomplishing its mission.
Plan: A plan is typically any procedure used to achieve an objective. It is a set of intended actions, through which one expects to achieve a goal.
Purpose-Driven versus a Preference-Driven Church
Strategic Plan: A Strategic Plan is a formal statement of a set of goals, the reasons why they are believed attainable and the plan for reaching those goals. It may contain background information about the church or team attempting to reach those goals. Strategic plans target changes in perception by the “customer”, client, or larger community.
Preference-Driven Church: Some congregations in America are preference-driven. Of course, we all have personal preferences. The idea here is that the special preferences of the congregation actually drive the ministry. Maybe our preference is for potlucks after church every Sunday, so we do all we can to ensure that this happens, even if the potlucks get in the way of other important ministries. Quite often, we see preference-driven qualities in worship:
we only like this kind of music and that’s the only kind that should be used in worship.
This type of preference-driven reasoning is common in America these days.
When a congregation is preference-driven, a kind of stiffness can set in, sometimes blocking the flexibility that the Holy Spirit offers. There is another way for a congregation “to be,” that is healthier and more Biblical. That is to be Purpose-driven.
Purpose-Driven Church: To be Purpose-driven means that we focus what we do on the mission of the church, its purpose and vision and core values. This requires flexibility because it often requires change. For instance, the mission of The United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Well, we have not been making disciples very well and we have not been transforming the world because of it. Why?
For most of our decaying churches, it is because they are preference-driven rather than purpose-driven. When the stiffness sets in, growing the church becomes secondary to keeping the preferences alive. For most of our vital churches, we see an intentional and intense ministry focus on the mission. This focus sometimes affirms directions the church has already been engaged; at other times, the focus requires changes that must be implemented so that the mission comes first.
This is why it is so important to know our mission, our purpose, our vision for the future and our core values here at Oceanview Church.
– Excerpted from What Is A Preference-Driven Congregation? Rev. Donald P. Lee, First UMC Midtown Sacramento. Blog post, OCTOBER 17, 2012.
The Methodist Way
Intentional Discipling – Christian Formation Groups (Discipling Groups).
Salty Service – Missions and Outreach (ministry beyond the walls of the church building).
Radical Hospitality – making new disciples for Jesus Christ – bringing people into the church through Professions of Faith. Welcoming ministry is a part of Radical Hospitality, as is the willingness of congregants to be invitational (to witness to and invite their friends and neighbors to check out participating at Oceanview).
Relevant Worship – offering inspired/dynamic worship with the goal of edifying those already a part of the congregation and attracting attendance growth by drawing new participants.
Generous Giving – to gain congregational commitment to giving by establishing the “tithe” as a biblical standard. To gain congregational commitment to develop a personal plan to grow in their giving and “strive for the tithe”.
Partnerships – to impact the community in strategic ways by partnering with other congregations, community orgianizations and schools. Seek to be a “Fresh Expression” to our area.
Vital Vision Planning Workshop
Led by the District Congregational Vitality Team