How to craft a compelling vision for your men’s ministry in 2016
By Jim Boesch
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
When you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
"Where there is no vision, the people perish, but blessed is he who keeps the law."
Local churches function best if they have a kingdom-building vision.
As servant leaders, it is our responsibility to work with others to discern what this kingdom-building vision looks like in our communities.
The mission statement of our global UMC is to “make disciples for the transformation of the world,” Our challenge is to determine how this mission statement will be applied in our communities.
While there are many published models to help organizations establish guidelines for how they should be structured, I offer a four-part visioning format:
- Define your mission or purpose. Prayerfully ask God help you discern His mission and purpose for your local church. Ask, “What business are we in?” “What are we trying to create in this organization of Christ followers?” What is our mission/purpose statement?”
Jesus was very clear about what business he and his disciples were in. He called his disciples to become “fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19).
A mission/purpose statement needs to express a higher purpose for the greater good that gives meaning to the efforts of all people who are involved in the organization of church.
A clear mission statement sets the direction for your ministry. If you set no direction then you don’t know where you are going and any plan will get you there.
- Establish a clear vision of the future. The key question leaders need to ask in prayer is “What does our picture of the future look like for our church if we live according to our mission and purpose and everything goes well?” “What will the future look like if the ministries in our local church are running as planned?” ––In our men’s ministry? In our youth and student ministry? In our children and family ministry?
Jesus outlined a clear vision to his disciples: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end if the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
- Establish your church’s values. The key question to prayerfully ask is, “What will govern how we behave in His local church?” “What are the core beliefs and behaviors that will guide us as we establish the limits and boundaries of how we will live as His church?”
Values are the non-negotiable principles that will define the character of your church leaders. They are those traits that you will want to see in every area of ministry at your church. Every person whom you encounter will be touched by your commitment to these non-negotiables. Honor them in all you do.
As you develop your own value priorities, it is helpful to know and understand what Jesus set before us his values when he responded to the Pharisees as they sought to test him with the question, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40.
*These values will drive the formation of a vision of the future which in turn drives the mission and purpose.
- Set your church’s goals and expectations. The key question church leaders may now ask is, “What do we focus on now?” “What are our expectations for the coming months?” “How do we set objectives to achieve the future we have envisioned?” “What are our people are capable of doing?”
A critical part of goal-setting is to make sure everyone who is involved in the process agrees on what good behavior looks like. Make it clear who will perform what, when, where and how often.
** Many of you took part in three webinars in October and early November of 2015 under the title of “Discipling Goal Setting, Implementation and Feedback for Men.” Those sessions dealt specifically with this fourth step of the visioning format. I will be glad to discuss goal setting with you if you desire.
In closing, I realize some local churches may not have defined and published mission/purpose statements. Some churches have no defined pictures of the future and have not established values that provide boundaries for their ministries.
Other churches may have done work to craft the first three elements but may be struggling on the fourth element of the vision of setting specific goals that lead to an understanding of God’s will and the fulfillment of the vision.
It’s never too late! February is a great to time to determine this current state for your church and then go from there into 2016.
Jim Boesch, deployed staff member
General Commission on United Methodist Men