Vision is your dream. Where do you want your ministry to go? What is your big picture of the future? The “why” always determines how long people will stay in Small Group Ministry.
As you start a new ministry or accelerate an existing ministry, you likely have a long list of things you need or tasks that need to be accomplished. I’ve found that need only goes so far in motivating people. They are often much more eager to help realize a God-inspired vision for a growing ministry or church. But churches often resort only to need in their appeals.
I attended a conference at which we were given a flyer that listed all the needs for that ministry. Afterward the conference coordinators revealed that out of about 150 people, only one responded to the list of needs. The conference attendees were called to a need, not a vision. Some people are wired to respond to needs, but don’t depend exclusively on that motivation. If you also call your people to a vision—to the specific reasons they are there and the end you are seeking to accomplish for God’s kingdom—they are more apt to respond and get involved.
Every successful leader has a vision in mind—something he or she is moving toward. People respond to that because vision is vital, not only to the leader, but also to the volunteer. A desperate need-based request typically doesn’t recruit many people, but a well-thought-out vision will draw in more people and inspire them in ways you never thought possible. Understanding “why” this vision is so critical will motivate and sustain the ministry.
Remember, it’s crucial not to get hung up on numbers (or stats) as you figure out your vision. Spiritual health will get you numbers, but numbers will not get you spiritual health. Your vision should emphasize dream. Our small group vision is to see every person, from the core of our church to the ever-growing community, connected to a healthy small group. Notice that the dream won’t be realized by people’s connection to just any small group, but to a healthy small group. We define a healthy group as one in which the members fellowship together, learn together, serve together, reach out together, and worship together. Combined, all those purposes create a healthy subculture of our church’s larger community.
The vision for your ministry should reflect and serve the larger vision for your church. As examples, I’m including below the vision statements for our church and small group ministry. These may give you a starting point as you define the vision for your own ministry. Why, exactly, are we here?
Saddleback Church Vision
A great commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will grow a great church.
Saddleback Small Group Ministry Vision
To see every person, from the core of our church to the ever-growing community, connected in a healthy small group.
Look for Part 2 coming soon: “What Is the Mission of Your Small Group Ministry Coming out of COVID-19?”
To develop a strategic plan for your small group ministry, read my new book, “Planning Small Groups With Purpose.” Find it HERE