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Questions for the Vision Team

posted Sep 26, 2017, 10:24 AM by First Baptist


In preparation for the informational meeting that was held on September 12 as part of Vision Week, I was asked by the at-large deacons to anticipate questions that the Vision Team might be asked. Below is a list of the toughest questions I could think of, as well as a brief response to each. These are MY responses, not necessarily those of the entire Vision Team or Diaconate.


Pastor Dan



1.     The process cost a lot of money. Was it worth it?


§  The members of the Vision Team (10 members, at least 2 from each generation) all considered it a worthwhile process, but time will tell how much impact it has. We now have a vision to rally around & the leadership team appears motivated to see the church move forward. The entire expense was approximately 6% of our annual budget.


2.     Why the long gap between the Team’s final meeting with the consultant last January and September’s Vision Week.


§  After an intense 10-month process that covered a lot of ground, it was helpful to allow things to percolate. As a matter of fact, after a couple months had passed, we re-visited the wording of the proposed vision. Also, we were ready to announce everything during the summer, but decided to wait until fall.


3.     What was wrong with our previous Mission Statement? Why change it?


§  There was nothing wrong with our previous Mission Statement. However, the Team wanted to relate the mission to our current time & place. This is known as contextualization. Even Jesus stated the church’s mission in different ways (for example, compare Matthew 28 with Acts 1).

4.     I expected the Team to do a better job of communicating with the church DURING the process, not just after. Why so little communication until Vision Week?


§  Once we got into the process, we quickly realized it would be unwise to “announce” things in drips & drabs before the process was complete. The Team did have 2 “Wet Cement” meetings with a broad group of leaders and also kept the Diaconate informed month-by-month.


5.     We were told that the 9Marks Assessment isn’t a “good Christian score,” but it kind of smells like it. How would you alleviate the concern that we’re taking a turn toward legalism?


§  It’s good to have this concern as churches have a tendency to drift either toward legalism or antinomianism (i.e., a lack of concern for God’s commands). We need to make it absolutely clear that our application of the 9Marks isn’t a means of earning God’s favor (we already have that through Christ), but rather is our grateful response to His favor.


6.     The Vision focuses on young people. What about everyone else? Are they just left behind?


§  Absolutely not. To achieve such a big vision, the entire congregation will need to be growing in Christ. Also, having a vision doesn’t mean everything else is neglected; rather, it means the congregation has decided to give special attention to a particular area of ministry for a particular season of its existence.


7.     The church has been doing fine without all this vision stuff. Why can’t we just keep things the way they are?


§  It’s true that FBC is a healthy congregation in many ways. At the same time, the Church in Harlan is losing influence, especially among young people. If present trends continue, the Church in Harlan could die. It seems wise to address this situation from a position of relative strength.

8.     All this talk about vision, strategy, measures, etc. sounds very corporate and business-y. Are we in danger of adopting the ways of the world, not the ways of Christ?


§  It’s true that a church needs to be on guard against trying to build the church on its own rather than relying on the Spirit. Our prayerfulness (or lack thereof) will be the telltale sign of who/what we’re depending on.


9.     What will this vision actually mean for our church going forward?


§  In both his presentations, Dr. Klitgaard mentioned 3 specific things: (1) it will inform our future decisions & allocation of resources; (2) it will require the entire congregation to take their spiritual growth more seriously; and (3) we will need to take a hard look at why young people have such a negative view of Christianity & the Church.


10.            Often times, a church will go to all this work, but then it’s back to business as usual. How do we know this won’t happen with us?


§  We agree this is a danger and something we can’t allow to happen. One way we’ve tried to address this was by lengthening the terms of the at-large deacons & moderator. Longer terms provide more continuity.


11.            The Team said very little about HOW we will reach so many young people. Are you holding things back, or don’t you know?


§  During the process, we only discussed strategy at the highest level and produced a graphic to indicate our priorities. We will now enter into a season of developing specific strategies around these priorities



12.            Regarding the Mission Statement, is it wise to discourage “self-sufficiency” at a time when so many Americans receive government assistance? Shouldn’t we encourage people to be MORE self-sufficient?


§  We purposely wrote the Mission Statement in such a way as to require some explanation. For our use, self-sufficiency refers to the spiritual condition of relying on one’s own merits (and efforts) to be in right standing with God. The Team believes self-sufficiency in this regard is very much a characteristic of the Harlan community.


13.             Going forward, who will “own” the vision & be responsible for its implementation?


§  Ideally, the entire church will “own” it, but as to the question of responsibility, the at-large deacons have been wrestling with this for several months. There are 3 main options:

1.     The diaconate owns it;

2.     The at-large deacons own it; or

3.     A new committee or team is formed and they own it.

Each option has its pluses & minuses and the at-large team hasn’t yet reached a consensus on which option would be best for the church. Please pray as the team continues to deliberate over this matter.