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The 6 Vehicles for Church Vision: How Many Are You Using?

Every pastor wants to get people excited about God’s activity in the world through their local church. But not every pastor understands how to use the multiple vehicles at their disposal.

The idea of vehicle is easy to understand. If a community is in desperate need of medical supplies, what vehicles are you going to use? A wheelbarrow or a 18-Wheeler or a C-130 cargo aircraft? And if you could, would you want five C-130’s or just one? You get the picture.

Keep in mind that the concepts we are covering are very powerful when implemented. The truth is that pastors have trucks in their fleet that have never seen drive time. The cost is high as the precious cargo of motivational kingdom fuel never dispenses to hearts and minds of their people. But get those rucks rollin and you will see things happen like you’ve never seen before!

This post is the second in a series on “Vehicles for Vision.” The first post dealt with a primary challenge on the subject- the default setting in the pastor’s mind that preaching is the primary vehicle for vision. It is the default mode because it is the easiest. After all, pastors are preparing messages every Sunday already and they don’t have to get other people involved in the delivery process. It’s simple and clean.

In that post we revealed that despite the important role of preaching, the primary vehicle is the church’s connecting environment. So let’s start there and continue our list:

Vehicle #1: The Connecting Environment. 

This is the primary vehicle because it is the most relationally intensive. Therefore most of the validation, understanding and appreciation takes place here. Don’t complicate this too much. If you have small groups or Sunday school or missional communities, I am suggesting that those leaders or facilitators and the environments that they create are crucial to the delivery of vision.

Vehicle #2: The Leadership Pipeline. 

If you understand the importance of vehicle one, you might be asking, “How does that actually work?” That’s a great question because it reveals an even more foundational vehicle. In fact, I consider it the prime mover. The leadership pipeline is the vehicle where vision is transferred from leaders to other leaders. It assumes a leadership development culture. It supposes there are time and places where only leaders meet to pray, dream, dialogue and train together.

Vehicle #3: The Preaching Event. 

Now we get to everyone’s favorite. And this vehicle is important as it carries a special authority and motivational dynamic with the congregation at large. Preaching connects the vision to the Word of God, to the act of worship, and rallies the entire body of Christ together in a unique way.

Vehicle #4: The Structural Story. 

This is a meaningful piece that I look forward to unpacking with you. By structural story I mean everything from staff and volunteer position titles, to budget categories, to systems. It’s everything in the background; the supporting processes of the organization. And these  pieces will either make a random, static-like noise or work together to contribute to the story and the vision.

Vehicle #5: The Visual Brand. 

From screens and worship guides, to curriculum and websites, your church is creating visual palettes from which people are digesting information. It may be a church sign, or a e-mail from the pastor. Everything speaks. As we explore this often overlooked vehicle we will show how you can constantly reflect and reinforce your vision.

Vehicle #6 The Voice of Each One. 

The icing on the cake is always the word on the street. Vision transfers through people not paper. And the ultimate test is not how well vision was communicated leader to leader, but from a participant to participant. By that I mean, what does Joe attendee say to a co-workers after he’s visited your church for six months? There are important steps that you can take, to help the vision transfer on the front line. Do you know what they are?

As we continue the series we will explore each vehicle further. For now I would encourage you to evaluate your ministry. How many of these vehicles are you currently using?

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willmancini@churchleaders.com'
Will Mancini emerged from the trenches of local church leadership to found Auxano, a first-of-kind consulting ministry that focuses on vision clarity. As a “clarity evangelist,” Will has served as vision architect for hundreds of churches across the country, including such notable pastors as Chuck Swindoll and Max Lucado. Will holds a Th.M. in Pastoral Leadership from Dallas Theological Seminary and has authored Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture and Create Movement; he also co-authored Building Leaders with Aubrey Malphurs.