<strong>Why Your Church Needs a 10-Year Vision</strong>

I know what you’re thinking.

How can I create a 10-year vision for my church when Sunday is always coming?

How can I think of a 10-year vision when the world is shifting 10 years every month?

These challenges are the reason that it’s time to pause from working in it and start working on the future of your church.

Sunday is always coming, but your city needs the best that your church can bring. The world is changing rapidly, but that means we need to dream big about the best future. A 10-year vision is you leaning away from the chaos and into the Great Commission.

What Does a 10-Year Vision Do For My Church?

At Growmentum we help churches work on it and not just in it. If your Church does not have a future that you are aiming towards you end up playing whack-a-mole solving the same problems every week. (Yes – there are always not enough kid’s ministry volunteers.)

Andy Stanley put it this way, “Direction, not intention, determines destination.”

When you create a 10-year vision for your church, you help your leadership, staff, and congregation have a clear, concise direction for where the church is headed.

This vision helps create alignment and assists in elevating above the weekly whirlwind. It also helps you tackle the true problems you want to solve and ultimately realize the huge impact your church can make.

Wouldn’t it be great to point to a 10-year vision as a tool to help make decisions today? Maybe that means you cancel ‘that program’, start the new campaign, or make the choice to boldly go where you know that God is leading you.

Put simply, a 10-Year vision helps you to be a church on mission.

How Does Our Church Start Creating a 10-Year Vision?

1. Start by asking yourself this question: What does God want our Church to look like in 10-years? This question forces you to have faith in a large way. You will likely have a long list.

  1. Trim that list down to a few compelling sentences. They should be something that everyone can grab onto and be excited about. It should be inspiring and move people to have faith that God will provide.
  2. Include ways to know when you arrive at the 10-year vision. It needs to be grabbable by everyone – not just the dreamers!

What are Some Examples of Church’s 10-Year Visions to Help You Get Started?

  1. Church Growth: We have 30 churches / campuses in California that are irresistible to the unchurched by 2030.
  2. Future Planning: We are a multigenerational, multi-ethnic church with a median age of 35.
  3. Missional: 500 people are attending mission trips each year.
  4. Leadership: We have launched a flourishing leadership college.
  5. The City: We have doubled our outward focus and partnerships.

Remember, the 10-year vision for your church should be exciting to everyone! People should be able to visualize this future and recognize it will take faith and hard work to reach the goal.

The 10-Year vision is an incredible way to dream for the future. Don’t shrink back from the thrill of setting a clear direction for your team and your church.

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Watering Plastic Plants

I was just trying to be helpful.  

My wife was out of town for 3 days and aside from ordering my favorite take out food and watching Sportscenter til all hours of the night, I made an effort to keep some resemblance of order in our home.  In my case, that largely consisted of running our new Rumba auto vacuum and loading (not running) the dishwasher. 

I also took it upon myself to care for and water the various plants we have sprinkled throughout the house. I figured, dead plants could equal a dead me when she returned so I filled a pitcher and preceded to generously water everything in sight. And I mean…everything. 

It was pretty satisfied with myself until a few hours later I noticed that the two small potted plants underneath our kitchen window were 1/ Leaking water all over the counter.  And 2/ Actually plastic. 

Yes. Plastic. 

Plastic. Looks like a plant, feels like a plant … is not a plant

My effort was admirable.  The results were inconsequential. And also embarrassing. 

It also led to a term I have been using around leadership and strategic efforts.  I call it just that, “watering plastic plants”.  My working definition is… “Leadership efforts that look and feel satisfying, but actually are producing no real value or growth toward the mission of the organization”.   It is easy to invest time, energy, attention and even money into things that we know won’t actually produce impact.

Or maybe we don’t?  Is it possible we are watering plastic plants and don’t even realize it?  We observe and measure, but see little change.  Perhaps we are convinced if we just “pour more on” there will be a change. But in reality, no amount of our current efforts are going to produce the transformation we desire.  It’s just producing a silent satisfaction that is meaningless.

Edwin Friedman leans into a leaders core responsibility when he asserts, “In the search for the solution to any problems questions are always more important than answers because the way one frames the question, or the problem, already predetermines the range of answers one can conceive in response”.  (Failure of Nerve) 

Watering Plastic Plants = “Leadership efforts that look and feel satisfying, but actually are producing no real value or growth toward the mission of the organization”

It’s the team member that we are constantly pouring more energy into that just isn’t getting it…and honestly isn’t going to. And yet, we persevere.

It’s the

The tendency to keep asking the same question over and over again with similar results is a reflection of watering plastic plants.  We are going through the motions while expecting momentum from something that is never going to produce our desired objective or outcome. 

Here are four ways we frequently do this: (I’m sure there are a bunch of others). 

These all involve the delusion of more.  

It usually goes something like this, “If we just ____________________ MORE”.
(You’ve said this… just admit it.  I know I have) 

1/ Talk about it MORE
…the solution is for the primary leader to use their platform to try to create momentum. Or we believe if we talk about a problem enough, after awhile we will believe we actually did something. 

2/ Meet about it MORE
…the solution is for key individuals to spend more time together and it will change things

3/ Strategize MORE
…the solution is intentionality. If we plan better, it will work.

4/ Focus on it MORE
…the solution is alignment.  Let’s get everyone on the same page and momentum will be the result. 

Here’s the truth.  It’s still a plastic plant.  Nothing is going to change that. 

In fact, doing more with something that actually has no potential for impact is just frustrating the team and expending the limited energy available toward something that truly could grow. 

But what if we took a different approach. As we look at increasing our efforts around engagement, it demands asking new, unique questions and pouring our energy into living, breathing solutions. 

Here’s some ways and conversations to have with your team asap. 

1/  Risk a Reality Check: 

The first responsibility of leadership is to clearly define reality. 

Begin an honest assessment of what we are pouring our efforts into.  Yes, an honest one. This will need to consist of both conversations AND any actual data that we have.  Think of it as an ROI conversation. Return on Investment.  I know, I know. You feel weird about that because it’s spiritual church stuff.  Get over it.  Our calling as leaders demands that we be stewards of resources. It may feel a bit painful, but it needs to happen before more “water” is wasted and spilled. 

2/ Reconsider your Assumptions

Anytime we hit a season of unrest, uncertainty and crisis, it is also an opportunity. As we emerge from that recent season, now is the time to really ask the difficult questions and question everything.  Every. Thing. Our tendency will be to cling to the previously held assumptions for as long as possible. 

3/ Ask Hard Questions around Values

There may be gaps in what we say we value and the actions we take. Often these gaps will reveal the plastic paradigms in our organizations. Maybe there are competing values at work that need to be confronted and dealt with. 

5/ Detect and Adapt from Default Thinking. 

As leaders, we all have an overflowing chest of ideas and stories around what once worked.  And so, we naturally default back to those. This tendency, while helpful in crisis, can lead to wasteful strategies that also embed the default thinking deeper into the organization.  

4/ Seek out New Perspectives Through Candid Assessment

As Andy Stanley says, “time in erodes awareness of”.  This truth forces us to aggressively seek outside perspectives and input.  This could come from a number of places both internally or externally (BTW: everyone needs a coach), but gathered correctly, these insights will reveal where we may be wasting water and drive us to make appropriate changes. 

This kind of thinking is going to require leaders who will approach problems differently than they have in the past and uncover solutions that will create a more impactful future. 

Buy yourself a plastic plant. Grab your team. Place it in the middle of the room. Have a conversation. 

You won’t regret it.  Plus … you’ll save some water. 

Leading is hard.
Leading alone is harder.
Leading alone is unnecessary.

At Growmentum, we make learning together and forging new relationships a high priority.

So Think Tank Live is an environment designed specficially for you to connect relational with like minded leaders from around the country alongside focused conversation on the issues that matter as we lead our churches on mission. Plus, in true Growmentum style, we’ve included some relational, replenishment elements to inspire and encourage you during our time together.

Special Session guests include Lance Witt, Ryan Pineda, Ryan Sisson, and Blue Van Dyke plus our Growmentum team.

Space is Limited! Register today!

Your $199 registration includes activities, Think Tank sessions and meals. Plus some awesome opportunities to replenish on Day 3.

Details and registration here!

See you in Vegas!

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