Is Your Vision a Mural or a To-Do List?


Tiffany Deluccia says that for too many churches, their de facto vision is nothing more than a list of the next things to be done. Instead, your vision should be an inspiring and compelling portrait of what God is doing in the life of your church.

When someone asks you about your church’s vision for the next 3-5 years, how do you respond? I recently heard a pastor respond to that question with something like this: “Well, we currently take one mission trip per year, and we’re working on adding a second.” It got me thinking.

A church’s vision is not your to-do list. It’s not the event calendar. It’s not your preaching schedule. It’s not your building repairs. It’s not your most pressing need. It’s not even some things you hope your church will start doing, like adding a second service or another short-term mission trip.

The vision is why God put your church right where it is, with the people you have, in the season you’re in, surrounded by thousands who need Jesus’ love. And that is unique to each individual church.

It’s easy to reduce vision to the next thing to be done. But the action items on your list are supporting players, and though they are very important ones, they too often grow to a gargantuan size, blocking out all light from the true aim — the very reason why you have a list at all.

The vision is why God put your church right where it is, with the people you have, in the season you’re in, surrounded by thousands who need Jesus’ love. And that is unique to each individual church.

It may sound simple. But many churches that feel stuck have made it complicated. Or rather, they have added to it. They took the reason for being and made it a list for doing. And the list kept growing and growing until tasks and recurring tasks reigned supreme, justifying their importance by their mere existence.

What’s in the Picture?

If you had to describe what your individual church means to the world (both the community you’re in and beyond), what narrative would you give? If you asked an artist to paint your church’s vision, what would be in the mural? The story of what God’s doing in your church is what attracts people to join in.

One note here: if it’s a God-sized vision, it should be beyond our capacity to achieve in our own effort; yet, it must also be within the realm of possibility. If people view the vision as completely impossible, it can be demotivating. One test of a God-sized vision is whether or not it both rallies and repels people.

What’s Important Now?

With a clear picture, you can ask yourself, “What’s important now?” to determine what things your church should be doing next. That’ll give you a list, but that list will change and evolve, and hopefully, you’ll check some things off as the picture becomes more and more complete. You will celebrate that added color the painting has received, instead of the items you check off of a list.

And when someone asks you what your church’s vision for the next 3-5 years is, you’ll be able to tell an inspiring and compelling story of what God is doing in the life of your church and how you believe He’s called you to spread His love.

This article is reprinted from and used by permission.

Related Resources

About Author

Photo of Tiffany Deluccia

Tiffany Deluccia writes for and She graduated from Clemson University, and before joining The Unstuck Group as director of marketing and communications, she worked in public relations with major national retail brands, nonprofits and churches on content creation, strategic planning, communication consulting and social media.

Adult Education Studies from the Wesley Ministry NetworkAdult Education Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

The Wesley Ministry Network brings the best of contemporary Christian scholarship to your congregation’s small groups and adult Bible studies.These video-based group study courses encourage the energetic discussion and personal reflection that are keys to a life of informed discipleship. Courses are designed for use in small groups in a wide range of denominations, but they are also appropriate for individuals seeking self-study opportunities. Learn more now.

Ecumenical studies: Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes SenseJourney through the PsalmsDevotion to Jesus: The Divinity of Christ in Earliest ChristianitySerious Answers to Hard QuestionsReligion and Science: Pathways to TruthIn God’s TimeA Life Worthy of the GospelWomen Speak of God
United Methodist studies: Methodist Identity — Part 1: Our Story; Part 2: Our BeliefsWesleyan Studies Project — Series I: Methodist History; Series II: Methodist Doctrine; Series III: Methodist Evangelism