“Where there is no vision, the people perish,” is the King James Version translation of Proverbs 29:18a. Far to often that proverb could be transposed to add some sarcastic humor and read, “Where there is no vision, there often is a parish.” Another similar, old axiom is, “If you have no target, you hit it every time.” For many congregations planning is only connect to the Budget committee and only focuses on the annual budget rather than a focus on the Vision to Action plans of the congregation and designing and providing a budget that flows from and supports the Vision to Action planning.
Far too often, congregations continue to do ministry without spending time with God in prayer and conversation with one another to discern what is God’s vision for that specific congregation. The lack of vision and strategic planning can cause a congregation to lose its purpose and move into a survival mode.
A vision from God that is clarified by specific desired outcomes to accomplish the vision motivates the leaders of a congregation to action. Moving from vision to action:
- Unites people around a shared vision and common goals or desired outcomes
- Creates energy and enthusiasm for accomplishing the mission of the congregation.
- Provides a positive process in solving problems
- Builds leaders’ capacity for responsible planning and action accountable to the vision
- Is an efficient way of introducing needed change
Search Institute in Minneapolis, MN, through the work of Dr. Merton Strommen, Shelby Andress, Dorothy Williams, and others developed a strategic planning process called “Vision-to-Action Planning.” Dr. Hardel is a trained facilitator and workshop leader of that process.
In this section Dr. Hardel shares a short planning process and some research resources to assist congregations access their ministries and to begin visioning and planning. A Vision from God for the congregation, clarified by precise desired outcomes, enables each ministry area of the congregation to plan all areas to move from vision to action. Without vision and desired outcomes, it is difficult, if not impossible to evaluate ministries. If you are interested in a Vision and Strategic Planning workshop, contact Dr. Hardel at firstname.lastname@example.org There are other wonderful training workshops or events to assist congregations and/or ministry teams. One of those is called “Plan It Workshops, “ offered by Lyle Griner at www.peerministry.org