Is Your Vision Statement Useless?

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How long did it take for you to come up with your vision statement?  A few years, months…hours?  Did you copy someone else?  It took me several years to come up with ours:

Church of the Nativity’s youth ministry exists to raise up authentic, consistent and irresistible disciples of Jesus Christ.

My first vision statement wasn’t even close to what it is today.  In fact it was pretty similar to another church I was studying.  I was told that I needed to have one, I wasn’t sure why I needed one.  But, I didn’t question it.  I had a vision statement but it was useless.

Was the youth ministry successful despite not having a vision statement? Sure.  It was doing well, it was growing and so it made me wonder, “Is a vision statement overrated?”

NO! Well, maybe it is and that’s because some are useless.  How do you know your vision statement is useless?
  • No One Knows It: How many of your volunteers or coworkers know your vision statement?  If your ministry leaders do not know why your youth ministry exists then all you are doing is playing church.  They might be living it out; however, it’s all unintentional.  It’s like driving to the right place; however, not knowing that’s where you were supposed to go.  When no one knows the vision, they don’t know their purpose.
  • It Doesn’t Fit Your Ministry: Maybe you just thought of crafty words and a catchy phrase.  Maybe you saw another youth ministry’s and adapted it.  While those are important steps to making a memorable vision statement, if it doesn’t fit your ministry it’s just a facade.  Your vision represents your identity and why God has placed you on this earth.  If it isn’t you then you’ll be lost.
  • It’s Not Being Lived Out: It might represent where God is calling you to go.  It might be memorable; however, if no one is actually living it out, then it’s just a catchy saying.  It’s one thing to craft a powerful vision statement; however, it’s another thing to embrace it.  An authentic vision statement is when your team is working towards it and trusting God fully.

Again, a vision statement is important; however, it needs to be crafted correctly (How to craft a great vision statement) and embraced.  With no vision your ministry will suffer.  If your vision isn’t known or used, then in the end it’s overrated to have one.  Take the time to sit down and ask God, “What are you calling me to accomplish?”

Do you think vision statements are overrated?  Is vision talked about too much and not executed enough? Share your thoughts.

Join the discussion No Comments

  • I used to think vision statements were overrated, too. Then, I realized that we all have “vision statements” (a general idea on where we want our ministry to go), but they’re not always articulated. By simply putting into one sentence anyone can understand, I have a much better shot at leading our ministry where I believe God is leading us. Great post!

    • Benjer, I think you nailed it with the fact that our vision statements aren’t well articulated. If the vision isn’t clear we can’t know where we are going. How would you suggest a youth minister craft their vision statement into one sentence?

      • That’s the tricky part. I think it comes out of a lot of prayerful time pondering two questions: 1) How does our youth ministry line up with and support the ministry of our entire church? If we have a vision statement that indicates a totally different direction than our church, that’s not helpful at all. And 2) What do you want to see happen in students’ and families’ lives as a result of Jesus? It’s a really broad question, but it helps identify the core of where you really want the ministry to be headed. Sometimes when we step back like that and look at the big picture, we’ll be surprised at what comes into focus.

        Now, doing it all in one sentence? That’s the tough part. I think the key is not confusing vision with strategy. Vision is broader than strategy. Too many vision statements have a ton of strategy and philosophy of ministry in them. A vision statement should be WHAT we hope to see happen through and because of our ministry. That’s different than HOW it will be accomplished and the particulars of the plan.

        For what it’s worth, our youth ministry’s statement is nearly identical to our church’s statement; we just inserted “high school students” in there.

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