At the church in which I pastor, our vision statement reads, “The vision of Hope Church is to grow and develop followers of Jesus Christ who understand and live their calling as missionaries, spreading God’s love to the world.” A vision statement is more than just a few words strung together that get mentioned every once in a while. The vision statement gives our church something to shoot for and also shows us where we are at in terms of reaching our stated goals. In other words, our vision statement is kind of like a measuring stick for our church, where we know that in order for the vision to become a reality we will need to do two things: “grow and develop followers of Jesus Christ” and “live….as missionaries.”
This is significant because it gives us a new barometer of success. Too often churches employ worldly standards to judge their level of successfulness. For example, a church might be content and happy as long as they have enough (whatever they judge “enough” to be) butts in the pews and money in the offering plates. However, with our vision statement, we have a new bottom line. Instead of attendance and income, our success is judged based upon discipleship and evangelism. We have to ask ourselves, are we truly making “disciples” and then sending them out to be missionaries in their world, or are we just entertaining and attracting people through worldly methods? Let me just add that the most important thing churches must remember is that success must ultimately be judged in terms of faithfulness to the Scriptures and to our Heavenly Father. The biggest churches are not always the most successful in God’s eyes, nor are the smallest.