EPISODE #55 – CREATING AND COMMUNICATING A CLEAR VISION
After some small talk about the correct pronunciation of States, the guys talk about the importance of vision in replanting. Vision is a key ingredient for the work of a Pastor and Replanter. By way of reminder here are the initial steps of leading a change process
- Stop and Pray
- Define and Confront Reality
- Build a Change Leadership Team
- Discover and Communicate a Clear Vision for Replanting
Two core components in a Replanting Vision: Making Disciples and Missional Engagement
Vision = where we are trying to go
Mission = how we get there
Your church can have a unique expression in it’s expression of making disciples and missional engagement.
Vision is often discovered, defined and clarified through a process-we recommend you get outside help in facilitating discussion around discovering your vision.
But…don’t make the mistake of doing this alone or quickly.
In short the vision must be Clear, Compelling, and Biblical.
Our fearless leader, Mark Clifton’s book, Reclaiming Glory is a must read for every Pastor and Replanter.
Ready for more? Dive into the show notes below. Check out this episode’s show notes below delivered by: Descript
Hey, every church needs a great website! We encourage you to connect with our sponsor, One Eighty Digital they can get you going!
TRANSCRIPTS are an approximate account of the audio recording and may not be 100% complete. Audio should be consulted for accuracy
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Good. bootcamp, man. I’m so pumped because in just a few episodes, Bob will be in person again, not on zoom, but it won’t just be us like in a hotel room trying to talk around one microphone and make it not sound like we’re in a shoe box. We will be. In front of thousands of Missourians,
Bob Bickford: [00:00:30] At least hundreds or maybe tens.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:35] at least a couple of people. So do you say Missourians, is that what you say?
Bob Bickford: [00:00:40] Yeah, I think you could say Missourian. So it’s not, it’s not Missouri. It’s Missoura.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:46] Is there a now from what I’ve
Bob Bickford: [00:00:48] No, wait a second. No, no. It is Missouri st. Louis, Missouri. It’s not Missouri. Sorry.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:53] I say I’ve heard that it depends on where in the state you’re from. It depends on how you actually pronounce the last syllable.
Bob Bickford: [00:01:00] We should probably ask my wife because she grew up here. I just moved here, went to college, married, her, stayed in state, went to seminary. And so I may not be the best guy to ask, but when she hears somebody say Missoura, she says, no, it’s Missouri. So st. Louis, Missouri, Kansas city, Missouri, et cetera.
JimBo Stewart: [00:01:19] But you’re from Ar-Kansas.
Bob Bickford: [00:01:21] No, I’m from Arkansas.
Yeah. You know, the whole, like, if you’re really, if you’re deep fried country fried white gravy, Southern Baptist, you might say, Oh, well that’s a biblical state. Cause Noah looked over an arc and saw, right. Remember that? Have you ever heard somebody say that?
JimBo Stewart: [00:01:40] Maybe I’m sure it’s been said in my presence, but I don’t recall it.
Bob Bickford: [00:01:43] It’s usually an evangelist who’s come in from somewhere and thinks he’s going to be cute and has probably a saying for every city and state.
JimBo Stewart: [00:01:50] Hey, I learned a fun fact the other day, listening to back row radio. every once in a while they did some fun facts. Do you know where Idaho got their name?
Bob Bickford: [00:02:00] Jimbo. I do not know.
JimBo Stewart: [00:02:02] It’s a pretty fascinating story. If back row radio was telling the truth. that’s where my source is back already. I should probably look it up, but they said that the long story short is a guy, who was.
Part of the territory. And they were like gathering to figure out what they wanted, the name, name it. And, uh, he just said Idaho. And they said, what, where does that? And he said, Oh, it’s a, it’s a native American name for gem of the mountains.
Bob Bickford: [00:02:32] Wait a second, Jim, like J I M
JimBo Stewart: [00:02:35] no, like E M like a gem,
Bob Bickford: [00:02:37] Oh, okay. I was thinking.
JimBo Stewart: [00:02:41] Like a beauty in the mountains, some guy named George Willing. And he just made it up though the, the point of the story and I I’ll, I’ll look into it more, but the point of the story is like, it’s not a native American word. It doesn’t mean gem the mountains. This guy just made up a word and, and everybody went with it.
Bob Bickford: [00:03:00] Man, that’s my kind of guy. He’s just bluffing his way through everything. He’s just he’s, you know, and if you say with confidence, most time people will think you’re, you’re telling them the truth or you’re right.
JimBo Stewart: [00:03:11] Exactly. And so they’re probably, technically it’s not a correct way to pronounce Idaho because it’s not even really a word.
Bob Bickford: [00:03:20] Well, that’s some kind of funny story, man. I
JimBo Stewart: [00:03:23] Well, it is, and I’ll tell you what to tie it in, to segue into our topic today, he led with a vision that vision was compelling and he got people to buy into it and move on the vision and name their state, a made up name.
Bob Bickford: [00:03:40] Awesome. That’s so awesome. I’m glad we’re talking about vision today. Cause I could use some vision right now.
JimBo Stewart: [00:03:47] so we’ll talk and see if we can help put some vision into you.
Bob Bickford: [00:03:51] There you go.
JimBo Stewart: [00:03:51] one of the things that is certainly consistent in churches that need replanting or revitalization is a lack of vision. And Les McKeown would even say lack of visionaries or visionary leadership. That’s why we say one of the essential characteristics of effective replanters and revitalizer is, is to be a visionary shepherd, which has really kind of two pieces to one characteristics or competency.
But, The steps we’ve been talking about in this series is we’ve been talking about how to lead change. There are different change leadership processes out there that you can go study more in depth on your own. Please do not lead your entire change process at your church, just based off of our podcast episodes.
Uh, I would encourage you to do a little more work outside of the few minutes of gold. You’re going to get here.
Bob Bickford: [00:04:49] I think that’s a great warning. That’s like the surgeon general warning on the box of cigarettes or poison.
JimBo Stewart: [00:04:57] Not that what we’re giving you is poison.
Bob Bickford: [00:04:59] No, we’re not smoking either.
JimBo Stewart: [00:05:04] We just want you to know this is, this is dipping your toes into a change leadership process. We should, you should dive a little deeper and to making sure that you’re being strategic about it, but the previous steps stop. Pray stop and pray. And stop and pray is one that’s like, it’s the first step. And then it’s the continual perpetual step, pray without ceasing.
But before you even move, there needs to be as Jeff Iorg said, a movement of God, a direction from God. And so we need to get some direction there. So we pray, we define and confront reality that helps us communicate a sense of urgency. We talked last time about building a change leadership team so that you’re not doing this alone because you need to be doing it alone today.
We’re going to be talking about building and communicating a clear vision for revitalization or replanting.
Bob Bickford: [00:05:58] I love this. I think that, like you said, most, most churches that are struggling and been in decline for a long time. The vision is let’s just continue to do Sunday. Or let’s do, let’s continue to do what we’ve always done or what we did last year. And sometimes that’s now not out of a, a heart that is not open to change, but it’s out of a heart that really doesn’t know how to vision or envision what God has for the church for the future.
So this is one of those things. If you are a long term pastor in a declining church, And you’re struggling with vision, and this might be something that would help you, but it also might be an indicator that may be, you’re not the guy to lead the church forward, perhaps, because if you don’t have a vision beyond where you’re at now, that’s something to think about.
And then for the guy that’s thinking about becoming a part or a pastor of a replant or a revitalization, this is a critical element that helps you move forward. So I’m excited to walk through this one.
JimBo Stewart: [00:07:02] Yeah, Sam Parkinson in an article on the replant blog, North American mission board said that a visionary, pastor, when we, when we say that he, we mean that he must be able to paint. Biblical picture of the church that is beautiful enough for his people to recognize as beautiful. I like that. I like that clarification of what it means there.
I think one of the things we have to understand is when we say visionary, We don’t mean that in the secular sense or that you necessarily like go up on the mountain and God tells you exactly everything that’s going to happen and etches it on two pieces of stone for you like Charleston Heston, but that a replanting revitalization vision is not about numbers.
It’s it’s an effective vision will be centered on disciple-making. And missional engagement. And I think Clifton’s definition of success in a replant or revitalization is helpful here. When we’re thinking towards what that vision is. As you know, Clifton often says success and a replant or revitalization is a.
A culture of making disciples that make disciples that make the community noticeably better. And so when we talk about revitalization and replanting, we are not saying necessarily that means breaking the 100 barrier or 200 barrier, or that it means a certain percentage of growth each year, or that it means anything.
In those numeric senses, not the numbers need to be ignored, but that isn’t, you don’t need it. Also distill vision down to say simply a we’re going to have X amount of people in here by such and such date. I don’t know that that’s as effective of a true revitalization vision as a biblical disciple-making vision could be.
Bob Bickford: [00:08:51] Right. That seems more like a goal to me, JimBo. you know, we’re going to have 10 small groups, or we’re going to have a youth event in the community and have 100 kids, and those are not bad things. in those sometimes it’s really important to try to stretch yourself a little bit, to meet some goals and objectives like that.
Cause it causes you to do something. And I think that. The real key here. What we’re saying is a vision for your church causes action and efforts and prayer and leadership too, to see God do to accomplish that vision that God’s given you for your local church, but, but again, centers around, what does it center around?
Clifton gives us some really good handles here. disciple-making making the community a better place.
JimBo Stewart: [00:09:35] revitalization and replanting vision is it’s just about making disciples and missional engagement. That’s it. That’s what matters if the church was not making disciples and was not missionally engaged, what does it mean to move towards revitalization and replanting?
It means to start making disciples and start missionally engaging, because ultimately that’s what matters. Neil Cole says the church will only be evaluated on one thing, making disciples. Right. And, and so we must keep it simple as that. Andy Davis, in his book revitalize says visionary leadership is vital in all churches in order for them to bear maximum fruit for the glory of God.
but it is especially essential in church revitalization situations, such a church is overwhelmed as a track record of an increased weakness, a downward spiral, dwindling, fruitfulness. Many of the godly members may feel powerless, aimless, and hopeless. They have lost their sense of mission and what is far worse, their sense of God’s greatness. Ultimately, this is, this is about the glory of God. So back to Clifton, that’s why I love what he titled his book, reclaiming glory, the glory of God. So vision is about God’s glory. It’s about the beauty of the church. As Sam Parkinson said, it’s about the greatness of God as Andy David says. And so don’t miss this, sterilize this into a business strategy.
Bob Bickford: [00:11:10] One of the things, as we’re talking about this, that I’m wrestling with is if we don’t have a good understanding. Of God’s vision or God’s description of what a, a biblically functioning obedient and faithful church looks like from scripture. Then we can kind of go off queue here or go, go off course and, and ended up building something that doesn’t necessarily.
Give God glory. Maybe it may be a great organization. It may be something that looks kind of like a church, but it may not function like a church inside going back to Clifton’s definitions, simple one and it gets, it keeps us back on track and it gets us to the standard that scripture gives us making disciples and reaching our community, making it another notice of your better place.
there are so many books that talk about. The intersection of like vision and mission. And I heard you described this really well one time and I’m, so I’m gonna put you on the spot to see if you can re-describe it, but we were, we were texting back and forth and maybe emailing about the difference between vision and mission.
And I think it’s a good clarifying point here. So can you remember what you told me back in the day about the difference between vision and mission?
JimBo Stewart: [00:12:27] I think something I know I’ve said before is that vision is where we are trying to go. And mission is how we get there.
Bob Bickford: [00:12:38] Yeah, that’s it? Yeah. That’s exactly it. Yeah. So the two of them kind of go hand in hand in a sense is, is that, and then what would you say about, the specificity of a vision. That is, you know, true to scripture, but specific to your church, the vision you guys have is probably different than the vision that I have for the groves church in the sense that making disciples and engaging the community, that we’re, we agree on those things.
But it’s going to look a little bit different. Is that vision or is that mission or is that right in between the two where they touch.
JimBo Stewart: [00:13:19] Both vision and mission. I think you may have disciple-making vision for your church, that your team comes up with. But ultimately if it’s not built off of just making disciples in missional engagement, you’ve missed the Mark. There is a bit of it in the church world that this is a lot easier than in the secular world in business, but also in the sense that it’s not because you really have to believe in it, the way that you say it, you really have to believe it. And, and, and listen, slogans and phrases are helpful and good statements are helpful. but you need to believe in the vision and the mission.
So which that you find a lot of ways to say it, that you really do believe in what it is. So our, our vision statement at redemption church is we exist to redeem the church and the community with the gospel by making disciples. now part of the reason that was our vision is one, this was a church that needed desperately to be replanted, revitalized.
And so we needed, we needed to see God redeem that through the gospel, by making disciples. But we intentionally put that capital C church. Not that we would redeem the church. And so maybe the wording could even be better, but we knew from day one that we wanted our church to be a church that links up.
Links arms and helps other churches. And then we knew we were not going to wait until we were big enough and healthy enough, but we would always be a part of. Advancing gospel work beyond our community even and beyond redemption church, but into other churches as well. So our vision, we exist to redeem the church and the community with the gospel by making disciples.
And our mission is love. God love his church. Love people.
Bob Bickford: [00:15:15] That’s a good way to break it down and thinking about that. how long did it take you to get there, to be able to. To communicate that. And then how have your people bought it and how do you get your people to buy in? And are they able to say the same thing, all those sorts of things.
JimBo Stewart: [00:15:32] Yeah, I think one, that’s one of the many reasons you don’t need to do this alone. that, and I think you have to understand, this is one of those parts of ministry where the journey is maybe even more beneficial than the destination. And here’s what I mean by that. if the, if the, if the desire goal is solely and exclusively, a really well crafted vision statement, you can copy and paste that from somewhere else.
And it’s been, and it will be clear and it will be good that there’s a journey to coming up with a vision statement. And I. Cannot encourage enough, get some outside help. your director of missions, associational strategist, if you’re Southern Baptist, or if you’re in some other network, I could just about guarantee you, they probably have somebody, but your state convention, if not your associational guy, Who has training in how to help you do this, and you don’t need to do that alone.
You need to have your leadership team and maybe even some others be a part of that process. And that process is such a enlightening process and helpful process. If you feel like you’re, it’s either you’re not Southern Baptist or you don’t want to do your association, right. Convention guy, honestly I would tell you to contact our sponsor of this podcast.
One 80 digital. And one 80 digital loves helping churches do that as well. Now that, that it costs you a little bit, whereas your Dom or your state convention guy is not, but the, the process of coming up with that. It is more than we have the ability to convey in a podcast. And I’m also even honestly, Bob, a little hesitant.
I wouldn’t want us spell out that whole process on a podcast, because again, it’s one of those where I don’t want you to just listen to this podcast. you. Understand what to do. A couple of things, come up with a quippy statement and think you’re done in the mistake I’ve seen people make is do it alone. And just cause it’s well-crafted. And, and I think when we do it alone, it’s a little bit of arrogance that we’re not willing to let other people change it or put their hands on it.
Bob Bickford: [00:17:48] Yeah, that’s a, that’s really a good, a good, insight in that. oftentimes we feel like, Hey, I just came to this revitalization or replant, everybody who’s here. Has been here for awhile and the things continue to go down. I might be the only one who could pull back on the controls and help this plane come out of its nose dive.
Right. Well, that’s not true. and if, if you approach that in the sense of you come in with this like PowerPoint already, and the vision’s already, you know, in stone or at least in handouts and you’ve got it memorized, that’s your vision? Of what you thought the church might need. And oftentimes God will place you among people who help shape that vision.
And I will say it may largely stay the same, but there’s probably going to be some ways that they participate in the shaping of it. And here’s what I really know when you have people participate in praying through and considering through the shape of liberalism. If everybody buys in and it, it does, uh, a lot to bring you with unity around that vision and momentum and forward progress.
JimBo Stewart: [00:18:56] The buy in, happens in the process. The buy in does not happen. with a really well crafted statement, the buy-in happens from your leadership in the process of develop. And then from that point in communicating it clearly. And so when you’ve got a good vision and it’s going to be clear and so there, so there will be some sort of slogan or phrase or sentence or something, that’s clear and it’s compelling.
And it’s biblical. Um, it motivates people. I want to do things. I like to even think about it. Head heart, hands. Yeah. Habits. I like to phrase a lot of things that way. Um, but I mean, so it needs to make sense head, I mean, just needs to be clear and simple a heart. It needs to convey hope and inspire. Like there needs to be something exciting about it.
hands, it needs to motivate to action there. They’re done this need to be action that comes out of this and have there do need to be goals attached to it. And there does need to be a bit of a kind of some steps to take and, and things to do. So one of the things I love at our church, what I’ll say is I’ll say the vision statement that, Hey.
The reason we’re here guys is we exist to redeem the church and the community with the gospel by making disciples. How do you do that? What does that look like? Well, that’s the mission. The mission is for you to love God with all your heart, heart, soul, mind, and strength. I’ll expound on it. I’ll even, I’ll go.
You know, I’ll say I’ll just riff on that for a second. I want you to love God with everything in you. I want you to love him with a hive. We’ll say one of our values is that we love guide with a high view of him. By and through his word. and so when you love God with all your heart, soul, mind strength, and when you love the church with passion and with patients and you serve the church, and then when you love people, By serving them by speaking truth to them, by discipling them by ministering to them when you love neighbor.
Well, when you love God with everything in you, when you love the church with passionate and patients and commitment, and what do you love people through making disciples and being missionally engaged? Then we will see our church redeemed and we will see our community redeemed through the gospel by making disciples.
That’s how we get there, but that’s how you do it. That’s how you participate and that it, so it gets you excited, but also gives you clear. Okay, what do I do? How do I participate? This is not just a corporate idea, but what, where’s my steps? What do I do you, I think as we come to a little bit of a close here, I think, think through those things of most importantly, what we would want you to know out of this episode is it’s super important.
To know clearly where you’re trying to go. Uh, the old adage, if you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. Uh, so you do need to have something where you’re going, you need communicate vision and you do it clearly. You need to do it compellingly. There needs to be, um, and people excited about it. I was, you have to get outside, help.
It just helps to, even if you’ve been trained on how to do it, there’s something about, I think having a Dom or somebody come help you walk through it a little bit, have some outside eyes, and then you cannot, you can not over communicate it. I mean, needed to find every possible way you can to communicate it.
And so I literally. And here’s what I’d say is if you, if it’s something you don’t feel like you can, could build ends almost every sermon, then you probably haven’t arrived where you need to arrive in every sermon. I can somehow communicate, not initially all of those things, but we’re seeing this church redeem.
We’re helping redeem the community. We’re loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength or 11, his church, or we’re loving people. If I ever preach a sermon that doesn’t hit any of those topics, I probably not preaching the Bible. Right. And so if it’s something you don’t feel like you could build into every single sermon or at least almost every sermon, then you probably haven’t arrived where you need to arrive yet.
Bob Bickford: [00:22:57] Yeah, people need to hear it over and over again, not in the same way, but in different ways. And. Uh, through the teaching of God’s word, through practical application, uh, through, just reminding everybody at the beginning of a leadership meeting, uh, or a church family meeting. And here’s what we’re here to do.
Here’s what we’re all about. Those sorts of things really help people just begin to get familiar with it and not in a way that it’s like, At their workplace, Hey, this is just the corporate corporate slogan that we repeat every time we get together. Right. And what you’re doing is you’re teaching the vision in application in multiple streams and multiple ways saying the same thing over and over, but in different ways.
And I think that really helps people own it and embrace and embody it and accept it.
JimBo Stewart: [00:23:48] Yeah, I think also in what you celebrate, I mean, find ways when you see it happening to celebrate, you know, they say what you celebrate, you replicate. and so find as many ways you can to celebrate it, communicate it and demonstrate it. Boom.
Bob Bickford: [00:24:03] Yeah, man. We, we almost come up with like a wrap there. I think like a. Um, could we maybe have somebody a listener kind of put that like to, um, auto tune, maybe, maybe you do an auto tune maybe. And we, uh, do the vision auto tune episode. That’d be fun.
JimBo Stewart: [00:24:21] I would love that. Alright guys. See you next week.