Get a Vision for Your Church's Health and Gospel Initiatives
Stumbled on an old document. Here's an excerpt of an articulated vision for CrossView Church back in 2009. That church disbanded in 2014 and I've been at First Southern Baptist Church in Southeast Los Angeles County ever since. The heart of this vision is still largely true 7 years later. The difference is that I believe, now more than ever, that when church members are church movers, they are the ones who make things like this happen.
I'm not a fan of the "vision" language at times because it can sound presumptuous. God is God. He's in control. He moved me from East Hollywood / Koreatown / Westlake in center city to Southeast LA County. May his will be done. Vision statements should be prayer requests for Christians. And yet, there is something powerful and invigorating when your desire to seek God's kingdom first and can envision what that might look like.
Here's a 2009 vision statement as we were beginning our church plant (without any editing).
I envision a healthy church that is vibrant, practicing the one-anothers since they take their commitment to each other (church membership) seriously and joyfully before God. The church will be humble before God and others. It will be a church reaching young professionals who are single and married along with various other age groups. We see a culture of grace where sin is confessed, confronted, and people are restored because they value accountability. CrossView Church is a community where talking about God’s work in each others’ lives is normal. Members would take initiative and start works of love for the church and neighborhood that aren’t centralized by the church leadership but begun and blessing others. Husbands and fathers lead their families well and wives affirm and strengthen the leadership to a power unattainable without them. We see men and women taking risks that only make sense if Jesus really rose from the dead. We see a church body that heeds expository exultation (preaching), learns biblical theology, is saturated with the gospel message, understands conversion, spreads the gospel message, disciples others, practices church discipline and sustains and multiplies godly leadership.
I envision humble leadership where leaders are passionate for Christ’s glory and open to change and considering the perspectives of others. We want humility to be a distinctive and pursued mark of leaders. We want to see many elders (and planters) who are also working a full-time job outside of the church. We want to see elders growing as theologians (theological understanding) and doxologians (God-glorifying living). We want leaders reviewing, giving, and receiving critique with humility and the ability to change and grow. Specific younger men and women would be identified and deliberately poured into by the leaders of the church.
To raise up leaders we’d have an internship program or leadership training center that is completely intertwined with the life of our local church and/or other local churches that are planted from our churches. We long to see scores of men raised up to lead churches as elders and deacons, many of them going out to plant churches. We’d partner with local seminaries for ecclesial course work. We could host a NT Greek reading group for worship, exegesis, and sharpening exegetical skill. We’d help young preachers harness their gifts and provide mentorship for leading, counseling, coaching, and church-founding.
We will be mobilized for the Great Commission. We pray to see a strong student ministry that is aggressively evangelistic and ecclesial at USC, UCLA, and other colleges. We long to have a strong missions heart for the unreached people groups of the world where we send money and people to these groups and intentionally pursue connections to these people groups here in LA. This would include identifying a region or specific unreached people groups we’ll give money to reaching and pray for. We want to see several small churches planted that have a robust ecclesiology practiced allowing them to be faithful to Scripture and flexible to their contexts and people God has given them to evangelize. These small churches might not be budget-heavy but they’ll be spreading the gospel and creating communities of gospel health. We’d love to see men and women saved 2 or 3 years prior serving as leaders and catalyst members on church planting teams. We’d regularly encourage and send our leaders and members to serve on some church-founding teams. Identifying men who are church-planters (as opposed to church-founders) who have the apostolic gifting to start churches rather quickly in the city and then supporting these men is important.
Since we live in LA, we pray that 10% of the LA population would know and enjoy Christ and be committed to a gospel-preaching church. We aim to plant several churches whose members serve their neighbors, neighborhoods, and our city.