Why "Love God, Love People" isn't Good Enough
Vision-Preparing for the Journey
I want to communicate with the church that the vision and future of the church is a collective issue. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul states that “the body does not consist of one member but of many”. I believe that if we approach God humbly together, asking what it is he desires for us, we will together receive a vision for Shadycrest that honors Him.
As your pastor, one of my primary jobs is to steward God’s vision for Shadycrest as it is expressed through its members. Taking this on has been frankly a difficult and intimidating task because I believe that we are not to be generic but unique.
It would be very easy to say, “Love God, Love People” …end of story, we’re done”. In other words, it would have been easy to have a mission and vision that means nothing because it is so universal and common.
Instead, we have chosen to labor over the inner workings of the identity, DNA, and calling of Shadycrest to discover where it is that God really wants us to go. After more than 9 months of work specifically for this, I believe things are starting to come into a clear focus and there is a bright and enduring future if we follow, listen, and depend on God.
I want to explain what you will see in the upcoming months as we prepare to launch a long-term vision at the State of The Church 2023. What you see below is an image of a vision frame. The components on the outside make up the frame which gives structure and context to the vision. Some of the components of this frame are already established parts of our culture. For example, you will continue to hear things like “Church is not a place you go, but a family you belong to” and “Helping people take one step closer to God”. Likely, the things that frame our future vision will be very familiar to you. There probably won’t be anything that shocks you that you or that you have never heard before. The reason for that is that God has been at work over the last several years, preparing us and shaping us for who He wants us to be.
First, we will work to clarify our mission. Mission answers the question: “What are we doing?” Every Bible believing church has the same mission, to make disciples of Jesus. It is important however, that as a local church we discover just how God has uniquely gifted and called Shadycrest to do that. God has created churches unique, and we will have our own expressions and emphasis of what it looks like for us to make disciples.
Step 1 meet with ministry leaders, deacons, key volunteers to bring them into formation of unique mission statement.
Step 2 Bring in rest of congregation for input and solidify
Secondly, we will do a values audit as a church. Values answers the question- “Why are we doing it?” We have values from scripture and from our community that dictate the atmosphere that we live and operate in. We need to know what these are and agree to live within them.
Step-Take Values Audit in town hall meeting after church (or take time from Sunday School classes)
Next, we will communicate our measures. Measures answer the question- “When are we successful?” We must clearly know when we are being successful. “If you aim at nothing, you hit it every time”. We want to know what to say “yes” to, and what to say “no” to and we will not judge our success by the busyness of our calendar. We must constantly be judging if we are “helping people take one step closer to God”.
Additionally, we will reinforce and communicate our strategy. Strategy answers the question- “How are we doing it?” This is no mystery, we are going to try to do things like Jesus did, which we believe is expressed in “making disciples in the context of relationship”.
-again, this is something we are already doing and emphasizing.
Finally, there will be a presentation of vision. Vision answers the question- “Where is God taking us?” This is a statement of where if all the above (Mission, Values, strategy, and measures) frame the picture of where it is that God is taking us. This is honestly, a dangerous process to me. It is terrifying to boldly claim, what it is that God is going to do.
From here, my task will be to take our collective data, input, history and put them under the microscope of scripture. This vision will be passed through the filters of pastoral and church staff, ministry leaders, and other church leadership before it is rolled out to the congregation. The end of this process will be a vision statement to be presented to the church body at the State of the Church February 2023. All this together, will set the waypoints for the journey for Shadycrest.
I am asking for your prayer, your fasting, and your participation in the Journey. It is a joy and a privilege to be together on this adventure with you.
Vision Frame- Credit-God Dreams, Will Mancini and Warren Bird  The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 12:14.