When I push my kids out the door they always have three questions: Where are we going? What’s the route we’re taking? Which car are we taking? These are the same questions potential core team members will ask when they are considering joining a church plant. They might not ask it just like that, but they all want to know: where they’re going, how they’re getting there, and what’s the strategy we’re using to get there.
These are three questions that church planters have to be able to answer as they prepare to plant a church. Potential partner churches want to know, potential core team members are interested, and other church planting agencies require these three things to be in place before they will financially support the planter.
1) Vision – Where are we going?
The vision has to be clear. I like the metaphor of the destination because when I share with my kids that we are going to Grandma’s house they know exactly what that means. The destination is clear. Is your vision clear? So clear that when you say it people understand it? If you can’t share your vision and explain it in less than 3 minutes then you have some work to do. If you’ve never thought about vision to this level of clarity I HIGHLY recommend Church Unique by Will Mancini.
2) Values – What route are we taking?
If the vision is the destination then the values are the route you’re taking. This is the way you’re getting there. Your values are things that matter deeply to you and your church. This isn’t your statement of beliefs or doctrinal statement. They should be derived from belief, but this is specific as to how you want to function. For instance, one of our core values at CityView Church is to love people far from God. Obviously, this is rooted in the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, but this is how we are choosing to think about it.
I recommend no more than 6 values. The best number is probably 3 or 4 values. A good resource on this subject, although it isn’t strictly a Christian book, is The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni.
3) Strategy – What vehicle are we taking?
If vision is the destination and values are the route, then strategy is the vehicle that you’re taking to get there. Strategy is the simple way you are planning to accomplish the vision. Many times these are the core programs you will use to accomplish the vision. For us it is our weekend worship service, life groups, and dna groups. These programs make up our discipleship process. Our strategy operates within the confines of our values and moves us towards our vision. Church Unique is helpful on this strategy development process as well.