How you see your mission and how you define your vision are two of the most important things you can bring to any discussion of how you want your religious community to grow.
Your mission is an awareness of what you do best and what you want to be, both as a leader and as a congregation. It is a discernment process. It is a discovery of who you are and how God wants you to be used in the world. This discovery process may mean casting off old assumptions. It may mean embracing new possibilities. Or, it may mean that the way you have been doing things works just fine and will continue to work for the future.
Discernment is a tricky process, fraught with the perils of wrong thinking. We all know that what we think we want and what is best for us can be two very different things. Prayer and discussion can help with that.
You may start off wanting a large house of worship. But, is running a mega facility what you see yourself as doing best? Perhaps your mission is more outreach or pastoral counseling; and what does that mean in terms of how you can best serve your congregation? Or maybe your sermons are drawing mega crowds. Then, perhaps a large house of worship would be best for you, so that all those who want to hear your exciting meditations can come and listen, with plenty of room for more.
Maybe your membership is teaming with children. How can their needs best be addressed? Perhaps your congregation is very active in community outreach. What facilities would best result in a vibrant interaction with ones fellow man? Or, perhaps the joyful fellowship of the congregation is important to the community of your faith. Should a new kitchen be built...a new community recreational center?
There are so many possibilities. But, only a deep and lengthy discernment process will show you which of those possibilities are right for you.
Once you have answered the question of your mission, it is time to begin formulating your vision. While an exciting process, it is important to remain somewhat open ended about your vision until you learn more about the financial and technical possibilities for the creation of that vision.
If you click on the page above called "The Process" you will learn more about the process of bringing your vision to reality. This process might start with the creation of a timely and thorough Feasibility/Master Plan Report. This report will help you identify some of the limits related to financing and site development. It will also show you where you can take off and explore the reaches of your imagination. Formulating a vision is an interactive process with you and your community leading the way, but able to change direction, as needed, when roadblocks or exciting new ideas are brought into play.
There are important reasons not to delay this process…
Time is a precious and finite resource. In the expansion process wasted time costs money due to increases in land, labor and materials. Construction costs have increased an average of 21 % over the last three years. This is BIG.
If the church building team does not understand the process correctly you will duplicate efforts, repeat mistakes and spend time on activities that produce minimal fruit.
If the church building team does not understand the process correctly you will duplicate efforts, repeat mistakes, and spend money on activities that produce minimal fruit.
Lost Momentum in Growth
Statistical studies show that when a church successfully completes an expansion program, there will be an average growth in the church of 25% in the first year, 15% in the second year, and 10% in the third year.
Divided Church Body
Members can become disgruntled with the old space or disenchanted with the delays. In either case they may begin to look for a new church or form groups that can result in unproductive and harmful conflict.