Monday, January 03, 2011

Church Unique

Vision-casting isn’t what it used to be. By “vision-casting,” I mean identifying a preferred future for your church or organization and then identifying the strategies, developing the action steps, and assembling the resources to move toward that vision.  With the changes in the culture, the economy, and much of the other structures in our world, one is often foolish to think that any plan is going to work out as intended.  In Church Unique, Will Mancini has attempted to articulate a visioning process that is relevant to churches and organizations in the 21st century and our time of discontinuous change.

Mancini’s contention is that each church has a unique culture that reflects its particular values, thoughts, attitudes and actions within a particular context.  We are called to identify what our church is uniquely called to do and pursue it.  By identifying and unleashing the individual church’s DNA, church leaders can unlock the potential of their congregation.

To develop a church’s “vision frame,” the leadership must answer the following questions. 

First, what are we doing?  What has God called us to do in this context? What is God’s mandate?

Second, why are we doing it?  What are the values that guide our actions and reveal our strengths?

Third, how are we doing it? What are the strategies we have adopted?

Fourth, when are we successful?  What are the milestones or marks that reflect our progress?

Fifth, where is God taking us?  What is God’s “better intermediate future” for us?

I am not sure that there is much new here, but the latter part of the book dealing with how one advances vision is certainly the most helpful part of the book.  Mancini recognizes that the hard part of vision-casting is implementation.  He deals with the need to gain traction for the vision, seek to get people attuned to it, and then deliver on vision daily.  For example, one delivers on vision by developing leadership, communicating intentionally, implementing duplicatable processes, constructing compelling environments, and consciously shaping culture.  This chapter is especially significant and provides some and awareness of the difficulty of implementing change in the congregation.

My primary frustration with the book is that the author took up so much space setting up his case for a new approach to vision-casting and so little to the implementation of the vision.  I would welcome a second book from Mancini on that part of the process.

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