In January 2020, I was teaching on the vision for the church as is my norm each year. January and February were great months, and then there was March 2020. It was different. Much different than anything I had experienced in my 20+ years of ministry. The rest of the year was a time to rethink and implement best practices for making disciples in our local context.

The Mission and Vision Remained the Same

Although the past year has brought many challenges to the local church, the church’s mission has remained the same. We need to keep the main thing – the main thing – making disciples. The methods may look different, but the mission remains the same.

Definition of vision: The preferred future your ministry wishes to bring about. The vision is what you would say after you told someone to “close their eyes and imagine this…”

God-given vision rarely changes. If you borrowed your “vision” from another church or organization, I would recommend you get alone with God and seek His will on this matter.

Let’s be honest, many have started out by adopting a vision statement they heard from a church they respect or through an online search for vision statements. Guess what? That’s ok… to start. Just don’t settle for this cookie-cutter approach long term.

Every church is different and unique.

Why did God call you to start a church when there are so many existing churches in your area? The answer should be: because your church is different, uniquely designed to reach_________ by doing 1)______________, 2) _____________, 3)_______________.

As a church planter, it may take a couple of years to understand the cultural context and the heartbeat of the community. However, along the way, God will give you insight into the area. He supernaturally downloads His idea for the local church. This is a God-given vision, and it makes all the difference.

Looking to the Future

Pastors and church leadership, I recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and try something new. View everything as an experiment, then make tweaks. If the “experiment” doesn’t work out, no harm – no foul; after all, it was just a test 😊

This is a time for unity within the body of Christ. The reality is that many of the churches within North America were plateaued or in decline pre-Covid. There is no silver bullet to get back to better days. My prayer is that pastors and church leaders would take some time and gain some self-awareness of their current reality.

Is the trajectory up or down? If it’s up, praise God! Reach out and help the churches in your town and region who need some help. Do so with a kingdom mentality – no strings attached. If you find the church trajectory headed downward, find an experienced, trusted friend, a denominational leader, or a church consultant to help. These people should have the wisdom and knowledge to help you navigate your current reality and set your church on the path to revitalization.