Friday, October 16, 2009

Words Create Worlds

As of Wednesday we’ve spend part of the last six Church Council meetings talking about our church’s vision statement. And we’re not quite done; we’ll need part of next month’s meeting to finish up and come out of there with something that is workable and can guide our church’s work forward.

Why have a vision statement? Without one a church is largely reacting rather than acting intentionally. It is a church full of activity without motivation. Without a vision statement it’s too easy for a church to react each time the wind changes direction or each time a new fad strategy hits the street (anyone else remember those “Reaching the Baby Boomer” seminars?). A vision statement gives guidance and intention to ministry. And it’s not enough to say, “The Great Commission is our vision statement.” You have to tell me how you’re going to accomplish that great mission where you are, in your context, with your resources. We all have the same “great commission,” but we don’t all fulfill it the same way.

Even if you agree with me, I can understand how you might ask; “Is it worth dragging out over six months?” Fair question. I could talk about consensus and ownership. It would be useful to talk about prayerful discernment and developing visionary leadership. Instead, let me put it a different way.

Words Create Worlds.

The words we use create the world (and the worldview) that we live in. We shape the way we conceive of our reality – what is possible and what is impossible – with words. We create perceptions – of what will work, can work and shouldn’t even be tried – with words. A vision statement is comprised of words that create the world that a church lives in and ministers in. They are words that shape the reality of our corporate life together. If a vision statement truly functions, it is more than words. It becomes words that define reality for a church.

Words create worlds. Language has power. What world is our church creating with its words? What God-given vision are we speaking into reality with our words? We’ll find out next month.

Is it worth six or seven months of conversation? You bet.