Avoiding Church Fights by Having a Clear Vision

Last week, Jason shared some practical ways to inspire individuals in your organization whose vision has strayed from what it originally started as. This week, Todd will discuss vision again, however this is more specifically relevant to churches.


We are frequently approached by churches to help iron out conflicts and priorities in their programming or facilities. Should a new campaign be run? Should we keep doing a program that some people like even though we’re not sure it’s effective anymore? How do we make the local community more aware of a resource that we provide?


These are all valid questions but they generally arise out of some internal disagreement that needs to be resolved. Those issues need to be sorted out, however in most cases the churches are asking the wrong questions. Churches can easily fall into the trap of evaluating today’s questions without the context of the broader mission of their church. We always advise that they take a step back and ask some abstract, vision-focused questions, and a lot of the other problems melt away.


Vision-focused questions to ask:

  • What is the global church for?
  • What is our church for?
  • Who is our church for?
  • What change do we want to see in them?
  • How will we facilitate that change?
  • What do we want them to do once this change has taken place?


Answering these questions can be hard. They are abstract. Every time you zero in on one idea or group, you feel like you are excluding something else. But the fact is that if you do not optimize around a clear vision, your church will be a jack of all trades, chasing trends and never realizing a vision. It’s a tough process, and we spend a lot of time helping churches answer these questions, but there’s good news:


Once you’ve answered these questions, you have a “constitution” for the vision of your church. Without a clear vision, all decisions have winners and losers, contests of will, etc. But with a clear vision, you can talk about whether an idea serves the mission or not, without worrying about who gets their way. Yes, people will still get mad. Yes, people will still leave. But you’ll know why, and you won’t have that nagging doubt that it could have been different.


This one hard talk can prevent hundreds of arguments in the future. It’s worth it. We can help.


If you missed it last week and want some other ideas for inspiring your entire staff, take a look at Jason’s article on reigniting your organization’s original vision.

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