Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Visioning 101

For the last couple of months our congregation has been working on laying the foundation for visioning.  Well, more accurately, our church council on behalf of the congregation has been laying the foundation.  We have been reading "Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations" by Bishop Schnase.  Each month we read one chapter and then discuss the reading and offer brainstorming ideas for future ministries.  There is an interesting tension because as we share ideas we want to get started and do stuff, but we aren't done yet, we haven't even covered chapter 2 yet, so we need to wait until we cover all the areas before we start instituting new things.  And yet at the same time, there are "little" things that can be covered immediately, little things that make a big difference, and we have done some of those things as we go.

So, in the fall, we are planning to do a visioning retreat.  The hope is to look at the future of our church and our community and our ministries and set goals for the next 5, 10, or 20 years.  Projecting who we want to be and some of the things we need to do to get there sounds appropriate and necessary.  The only problem is:  I'm totally winging it!  I have done planning for educational goals...4 years from now...finish BA, 7 years from now...MDiv...8 years....ordination.  But aside from that, on a large scale for a multitude of people and not just myself, I've never done it.

I'm pretty good at winging it. I'm also fairly good and simply being faithful to the call and trusting that God will guide us appropriately. But I would like to be a little more prepared before we get to the fall (which, for the record, is not all that far away).  As part of my personal pastoral covenant, I have decided to read at least 2 books on visioning.  

So, today, I am looking for book suggestions to lead us through this process. Or just suggestions in general for how we can do proper planning for our church and our community and how we can help lead the larger congregation into the vision.  Any takers?!  

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