One of the hardest questions for me to answer is, “What’s your vision for the church?” Variations on this theme: “Where do you see the church in five years?” “What are your goals for this ministry?” “What direction do you envision for the congregation?”
When I am confronted with the question, I usually hesitate. I have to admit, I have no broad vision for the church. I have no idea where the church headed. I have no idea what we’ll be in five years.
I think I have a hard time answering this question because I easily fall into the trap of responding in a quantitative way. For example, I envision a 25% increase in worship. Or doubling the number of our small groups. Or increasing the size of our Sunday School. Or increasing our mission giving by so much.
To tell you the truth, my vision is much more modest than that. I simply want the gospel to be clearly proclaimed in our worship. I want our parents to raise their children in the faith. I want the Sunday morning worshipers to live out their faith over the next week. I want those who gather for worship to forgive, serve and show mercy to others in school, at work, and in their neighborhood.
Those goals don’t sound like much. Those goals don’t affect our bottom line. They aren’t mentioned in the “fastest growing churches” magazine articles. They aren’t presented in “best practices” conferences. They aren’t impressive at all.
Before I decide what to bet, I need to look at the cards I’ve been dealt. In other words, I need to wait and see who God has added to our congregation before I know what direction we’ll take next.
Many of our newer members are not parents with children. They are grandparents with grandchildren who live far away. Many of our newer members are just retiring from their careers. They will serve the church much differently than they did when they were working and raising a family. Some of our newest member bring with them a wealth of wisdom, experience and wealth to our church. But they have worked hard and love the chance to be “retired.”
What if the future of the church isn’t the young, but those who are older? While we certainly want to bring children up in the fear and knowledge of the Lord, there are time when He builds His church with a much different demographic. Age is an asset, not a liability, in the church.
My vision for the church? Give me a moment or a week or a year. I need for fiddle with the focus and see what God is up to.
Then I’ll let you know.