The coronavirus pandemic has forced us all into new rhythms. Stay-at-home orders for all but the most essential of professionals, caregivers and service providers have dramatically impacted families, businesses and government.
Churches are not immune from this impact. Social distancing has led to the need for creative models of discipleship. We as church leaders send curriculum to families with anticipation that many parents will rise to the challenge of discipling their children. We stream Bible stories, offer application activities, write daily devotions and offer encouragement to weary parents.
When this season of life becomes a scene in our rearview mirrors, what lessons and changes do you hope will remain? What changes will you continue or adapt within the walls of your church? What do you hope will last in the hearts of parents as they disciple their children?
What was your ministry vision before COVID-19?
One of my favorite quotes on vision is from Andy Stanley’s book Visioneering. Vision is “a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be.”
If asked to describe your vision for your ministry before COVID-19, more than likely words such as “children,” “families,” “gospel,” and “disciple” would have been in the mix. If you had to paint a picture of your vision, what would it have looked like? What was the setting for your vision? Was it clear?
What is your ministry vision once COVID-19 has passed?
Chances are you would offer many of the same words as before, but your picture may look different. What “could be’s and should be’s” would your picture include that weren’t there before? What changes could you verbalize?
Would the frame for your vision be the same size as before?
Hopefully the frame for your vision is broader and larger. Is there room for more people? Is the frame still defined solely by the footprint of your church building? Are there people in the picture who were not included before?
What about the colors used to bring the vision to life?
Hopefully, your picture is more techno-colored and less mono-chromatic. Is it more refined and crisp with contours and contrasts? Are there features that have been erased because they are no longer relevant or effective? Is it reproducible and available to be shared with your church and other leaders? Is the vision a place people want to be or want to go?
Where are parents in your vision?
Have you shared the necessary skills and resources so parents can create their own visions for disciple-making in their homes? Have you done more than send them resources? Have you allowed them to lead their children or have you been leading through the video resources you offered? A picture is best enjoyed when it is balanced and hanging straight on the wall.
What is God’s vision for your ministry?
One of the hardest questions to answer about your vision for ministry may be discovering what God says about what really matters and what is bigger than ourselves. What will outlast our personal efforts to make our vision a reality?
Jesus’ initial vision for ministry is from Matthew 4:19:
“Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
His final vision statement in Matthews 28:19-20 has the same call but is broader in scope and more clearly defined:
“Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to observe all things I have commanded. And remember I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
How has this time in our history defined, expanded and brought new focus to your ministry vision?