What's Your Vision?
You'll know you've embraced a vision from God for your ministry when it's a God-sized vision. God never calls his people to accomplish something that is within their own ability to accomplish. Hebrews 11 gives us an incredible list of those people who accomplished God-sized goals. They accomplished their work by living by faith.
When creating the vision statement for your ministry:
- Pray passionately for God's guidance.
- Imagine the unimaginable.
- Silence the voices in your mind that whisper, "That can't be done," or "You're not the right person to do that."
- Surround yourself with other dreamers and visionaries.
- Include language that captures the imagination.
Once you have a vision in mind, the next step is to create a statement that describes that vision. This statement should be succinct, easy to memorize, and relevant but not so trendy that it won't relate to people for decades to come.
Your compelling vision statement might be something like:
- To have a small group in every subdivision within a 10-mile radius of our church.
- To have 40% of our adults start a missional group on their street or cul-de-sac, or in the apartment building where they live.
- To have 110% of our weekend attendance connected in groups by making small groups an entryway to our church.
Get the Word Out
Once you can articulate your vision for the ministry in a succinct and compelling vision statement, you must saturate your church with that vision. Only when the vision becomes part of your church will small groups become a transformational force in the church and community.
Saturating the church with the small-group vision will demand viewing the church as a sponge. When a sponge is placed in water, every inch of that sponge, from its inner core to its most outward edge is saturated with water. Make it your goal to have every adult in the church inundated with the vision of the small-group ministry. There are at least six ways to make this happen:
Make Small Groups Core
Be certain that being in a small group is a core value of the church. When small groups are a core value of the church, the middle of the sponge is already soaked, and the vision will extend outward into all facets of church life.
Explain Groups to New Members
Present the small-group ministry vision at each new member's class, group, or event so that every new person in the church understands their importance and goals. Make sure the vision for small groups is given substantial time and passion during this event.
Have your senior or lead pastor continually cast vision for group life in weekend worship services. My pastor, Josh Howerton, encourages people to join a group and shares stories about group life at least twice a month. We have 90 percent of our adult attendees in a group, and I believe this is directly related to the time, attention, and passion the senior pastor gives to groups from the pulpit.
You can't be the only person who can articulate the vision. Instead, your coaches and leaders must know and be able to verbalize the vision statement whenever possible. As a team, you'll reach many more people than you could on your own. Plus, a personal invitation from someone already involved in small groups—who can clearly articulate the vision—goes a long way for new people who are considering joining a group.