Ministry Night Reflections

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Ministry Night Reflections

05.15.16 | Pastoral Reflections by Brad Sumner

What do you think of when you hear the words “strategic vision”? For some, this kind of language doesn't belong in the church.  Still others feel inundated with it and so they roll their eyes and politely sit through another round of being envisioned into the future.  

Part of the question we've been exploring here at Jericho this past year is "HOW does strategic vision get developed?" The prevailing model is very top down.  Those in leadership go up the mountain top (think Moses) and come down with the vision and then begin to sell it to everyone so that they can participate in “the vision”.  But there is a challenge embedded in this model that you may not have considered before.  If this model is – the role of the leader(s) is reduced to sales & marketing. And the role of the followers or members of community is dutiful obedience. This  (so it had better darn be a good vision / right vision)

Now, don't hear what I'm not saying.  To be sure, there are times when a leader(s) hear a sense of direction clearly from God and call others to move into a preferred future.  But good leaders test this in community as opposed to try to hype people into buying a vision they didn’t help to create. You see, people own what they help to create.

So here at Jericho, we’ve spent time with Dr. Ken Thiessen starting almost a year ago and asked him to walk us through a process of creative re-imagination of our strategic vision. So when we use that term, what we as elders mean is “the things God is calling us to DO and the people he is calling us to be”.  You can see in the pastoral report in the May 15 Ministry Night Packet that we are actively asking "what component parts need to be in place in order for this to happen?"  

One of the intriguing outcomes of this process is that I am convinced that it’s time to Turn Vision upside down – not to start at the mountain top, but to start at the grass roots – not in a “vision by consensus or by survey” model – but in a firm belief that God speaks to His people.

So here’s how we as elders are choosing to articulate the vision for the "God Sized Challenge” in front of us here at JRCC… We believe that God is going to give us as Jericho Ridge 5-10 "rooted shoots", or significant ministry initiatives that He wants us to uniquely take on in the next 10 years.  We could say to leaders and say "cook up 10 new programs and we’ll see if we like them." BUT here’s the thing… I believe that as you listen to God, he is going to give you unique assignments. Some of these assignments are going to be so significant & God-sized that you won’t be able to do them by yourself! You’ll need a community of people around you to stand with you and share in the journey. That’s where the church gets to be the church. 

As we listen to God and each other, we need to be well structured / positioned to respond to this. This will requires staff & volunteer investment; good leadership at the elders table; stronger communication; balanced systems; strong ministry leaders... But it also seems to resonate much more with the words of the Apostle Paul to the church in Ephesians 4 where he shares that it’s the job of leaders to equip the saints for the work of ministry to which each of us and all of us have been called.