Dr. Ann A. Michel, associate director of the Lewis Center
Dr. Lovett H. Weems, Jr., distinguished professor of church leadership and director of the Lewis Center
Watch Discovering God’s Future for Your Church: An Overview of the Process for a brief overview of our vision discernment process.
CrossRoads United Methodist Church in Collierville, Tenn., used “Discovering God’s Future for Your Church” in their discovery process. A display board represents the culmination of their efforts, highlighting the congregation’s strengths and ministries, plus a visual representation of the church’s next faithful steps as committed servants of Christ.
Discovering God’s Future for Your Church: An Overview of the Process (3:14 min)
Provides a brief overview of the vision discernment process for Vision Facilitation Team members and other key players.
How to Discern a Vision (19:37 min)
Explains how vision is discovered through a process of examining a church’s purpose in light of its identity, internal context, and external environment. Can be used to provide an overview of the vision discernment process for leaders and/or congregation members.
Seeking Your Church’s Next Faithful Step (14:29 min)
Explores biblical, practical, and theological reasons why churches must periodically renew their vision to remain vital.
The Power of Vision (16:34 min)
Describes how a vision can be a unifying force helping a church see beyond day-to-day issues and needs and focus instead on what God is most calling it to do.
Who Are We? Understanding Your Congregational Identity (5:34 min)
Explains why it is essential to understand a congregation’s history, culture, and values when seeking a renewed vision.
How Are Things Going Here? Understanding Your Internal Context (3:47 min)
Explains why a new vision must be developed in consideration of a congregation’s current reality — needs, strengths, and resources.
Who are Our Neighbors? Understanding Your External Context (4:30 min)
Explains why assessing the community beyond your church is an essential, but often overlooked, aspect of developing a congregational vision.
Bringing It All Together: Vision at the Intersection of Identity, Context, and Community (6:18 min)
Provides instruction and examples to guide the process of articulating a new vision in light of the clues gathered related to the three spheres of inquiry.
Living the Vision (14:09 min)
Provides ideas for how to implement a new vision by using it as a lens through which you view the activities of each ministry within your church.
Examples of Congregations Finding Their Next Faithful Steps (10:10 min)
Illuminates key concepts related to visioning by describing how new vision came to three churches in the midst of crisis.
- Instructional Segments
Unit 1: Leadership
- Discovering God’s Future for Your Church: An Overview of the Process (3:14 min)
- How to Discern a Vision (19:37 min)
- Leader’s Guide and Program Overview
Unit 2: The Importance of Vision
- Seeking Your Church’s Next Faithful Step (17:54 min)
- The Power of Vision (16:38 min)
- Renewed Vision Cycle Diagram
- Vision Process Diagram
- Six Functions of Vision
Unit 3: Congregational Identity
- Who Are We? Understanding Your Congregational Identity (5:34 min)
- A Cultural Heritage Scavenger Hunt — Group Activity
- History Timeline — Group Activity
- Identifying your Congregation’s Core Values — Discussion Exercise
- Congregational Identity Key Findings Worksheet
Unit 4: Internal Congregational Context
- How are Things Going Here? Understanding Your Internal Context (3:47 min)
- Internal Data Trends Report
- Tell Us What You Think: A Quick Congregational Survey
- Congregational Needs Discussion and Gallery Walk — Group Activity
- Key Congregational Strengths — Discussion Exercise
- Internal Context Key Findings Worksheet
Unit 5: External Context
- Who are Our Neighbors? Understanding Your External Context (4:30 min)
- Community Demographic Trends
- Neighborhood Walk — Group Activity
- Community Mapping — Group Activity
- Community Conversations — Individual Activity and Group Discussion
- External Context Key Findings Worksheet
Unit 6: Bringing It All Together
- Bringing It All Together: Vision at the Intersection of Identity, Context, and Community (6:18 min)
- Living the Vision (14:09 min)
- Vision at the Intersection of Identity, Internal Context, and Community
- Case Studies in Congregational Visioning
Unit 7: Supplementary Resources
- Examples of Congregations Finding Their Next Faithful Steps (10:10 min)
- Key Bible Verses
- Leadership and Vision in Nehemiah
- Other Suggested Resources