We had a mission action plan meeting at St Luke’s a few weeks back. Part of the day was spent discussing our current aim statement and whether or not we needed a vision statement. As we reviewed vision statements of other churches, their strengths and weaknesses, I saw the Redeemer Presbyterian, Bethlehem Baptist and Mars Hill Seattle vision statements side by side for the first time.
What was striking was the language of each seemed, as far as I am aware with as little as I know each of the senior pastors of these churches, to reflect the core vision and values of the leader himself, as scripture is filtered through him. Here’s the vision statements. Have a read and work out which matches which personality:
Seeking to renew the City, Socially, Spiritually and Culturally.
To spread the gospel, first through ourselves and then through the city by word, deed, and community; To bring about personal changes, social healing, and cultural renewal through a movement of churches and ministries that change [this] City and through it, the world.
[This church] lives for Jesus as a city within the city – knowing culture, loving people, and seeing lives transformed to live for Jesus.
Spreading a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.
Vision statements, it seems to me, reflect scriptural mandates not objectively but, as Keller talks about with preaching, according to the personality, questions and motivation of the person or people who develop them.
Vision statements only really work, therefore, if they are consistent with the nature and personality of the church leader(ship) as well as scripture. They must be seen by congregation and the church leadership as capable of fulfilment, according to their visionary gifts and ability. It will not do to ape the vision of others if we are not built by God to function in the same way as them.