I am continually trying to work out how to better think through and organize our community in a natural and semi-organic way so that we can best live out or mission and our values.

I spend a lot of time thinking about this “organizing for mission” concept and as part of my thinking I brainstormed a generalized flow of thought for how we develop programs, ideas and even budgets.  In fact, what you will see below came mostly from a conversation around budgets in our leadership team.  We were working through some questions such as:

  • What is a good use of the churches finances?
  • What is a poor use of the churches finances, where do we prioritize our finances at the church?
  • How do we make sure that we’re giving and putting our money into things that are helpful and help us live out our mission?

You know, fun questions like that.

So, here is a little, “flow of thought” that I came up with.  Note, this is probably not good for all times in all places, but I think its a helpful start…

Our Strengths lead us to discover our Values and Mission.

I think this is a key piece that we miss.  While we all have a general mission to make disciples and share the love of Jesus, I am a believer that the diversity of the body of Christ is global as well as local.  My church is gifted for things that your church isn’t.  Your church is gifted in ways that my church isn’t.  So, as we are looking at our specific mission, we have to ask first and foremost, what are our strengths?  What are the ways that God has distinctively gifted our specific community for mission in this specific location at this specific time…

Our Strengths help us look at specific, present needs in our community and in our neighborhoods.

I think this is a piece we all too often miss.  We often run forward with ideas and ministries without ever asking whether our community or neighborhood even needs what we are trying to offer.  A classic example is the church that wants to start a coffee shop.  Now, that’s a great idea. But, the question that is often not asked is, “Does our town need a coffee shop or do we just think it would be cool to have one?”   This is perhaps the longest part of this little flow here.  It takes a LOT of listening and a lot of patience and then it takes some more listening and some more patience.  This is usually the unglamorous process of sitting in township meetings, PTA meetings, etc.

The needs plus our values and mission help us discover our specific priorities that God is calling us to focus on.

Once we are aware of the specific ways that God has gifted us and we are aware of the needs of the community and our neighborhoods, we are better able to look at specific priorities and goals.  I think far too often we don’t get specific enough with priorities.  At least, in churches like mine, we don’t get specific enough.  In the churches I grew up in, maybe we were a little too specific and programmed.  I guess I am not talking about 10 year goals and priorities but more short term, specific, tangible goals that relate to our mission, our values, our strengths and the needs of the community.  An example, for us at The Well, we want to be involved locally, and we’re doing our best to get involved in the local neighborhood around Feasterville. Priority:  Go to at least one town meeting a month.

Our specific priorities help us discover important programs.

When we have specific prorities, we can then creat programs, plans or relational environments to help meet these goals.  We don’t create programs up front and then see what happens. We create programs to help us meet goals.  These programs are goal based so once they help us meet our goals, they might just end.  I think this is the best way to look at programs.  Its not a programs for the sake of programs approach.  Rather, its a programs for the sake of mission approach.

Our specific programs guide us to the support structures and systems we need in place.

When we have programs or relational environments that are driven by our mission we can look at what kinds of structures and systems we need to have in place for these to thrive.

All of this together helps us decide our budget.

It’s only at this point that we decide our budget.  We don’t make a budget adn then fill in some ministries and goals that fit into what we think we can do.  We make a budget based off our mission and we invite God to provide the resources that will help us live the mission he has called us to.

Here is a visual representation of this (click on it to enlarge it)…

Developing Missional Vision, Values, Programs & Budgets