You know you need a vision when…

In their book, Managing the Congregation, Norman Shawchuck and Roger Heuser give a list of warning signs for when a new vision is needed within the church. Under the heading, “How Do You Know if You Need a New Vision?” their questions follow:

1) Are your key leaders and managers paralyzed because of the frequent and often endless disagreements? Can you start no new ministries because the group cannot agree on anything? Does defensiveness and passive-aggressive behavior over hair-splitting issues prevent attention to important results?

2) Is there a spirit of goodwill, fun, excitement, and trust in your congregation? Or is there a spirit of cynicism about present ministries, a spirit of pessimism about the future?

3) Is your congregation declining while new congregations are springing up around you that are growing?

4) Is your congregation out of touch with the environmental changes surrounding your church? Do your leaders and managers feel threatened or excited about these changes?

5) Are there signs of declining pride in your congregation? Are people hesitant to bring friends or tell other people about your congregation? Are paid staff working only for their weekly paychecks with little passion and excitement for the congregation’s ministries?

6) Are people involved in the ministries of your congregation afraid to take risks? Do they only “go by the book”, unwilling to initiate something new, and resist any type of change?

7) Do people dwell on the “good days” of the past? Are they paralyzed, believing that a bright future is “too good to be true”?

8] Do people talk about the future in the same way as they have for years, without ever doing anything about it- the platitudes being predictable and boring?

9) Is there a hyperactive rumor mill that majors on “pet” topics or insignificant issues- and drains off energy? Do people trust the church leaders and managers?

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~ by Dave Smith on December 4, 2007.

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