7 Vision Failures Holding Churches Back

Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 94

Have you worked on vision in your church, but you’re not really seeing the positive effects that you expected?  Vision can be tough, and it doesn’t come easy for many, so you’re not alone if you’re struggling.  Vision cannot be overlooked, though.  It is a critical component of a healthy, thriving church.  See if one or more of the church vision failures listed below may be happening in your church, and begin making plans for a course correction.

In our Strategic Envisioning process of church revitalization, we work through five things that are essential to church health. If you’re seeing the following things happening in your church, there is a very good chance that you’re reversing a trend of decline, and will begin to see a new trend of Kingdom expansion.


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1) Vision lacks the size that requires reliance on God

You might have a very clear vision. You may have worked on it for months…but it doesn’t inspire anyone. This might be because your vision isn’t big enough. Your vision should encapsulate the God-sized dreams God has laid on your heart. It should feel impossible without a supernatural act of God.

If the vision sounds like something you’ve done before and it doesn’t stretch you, it is deficient. Vision should push you to rely on God and wonder if it is possible. Don’t clarify your vision based on past results, focus on future dreams.

2) The vision paints no picture of the future

Usually the culprit here is that a church has taken their mission and written it down as their vision. Having a mission or vision statement written down won’t do very much for your church. Captivating your people to live on mission as they strive to realize a big vision is far greater than having something written on paper. However, saying that your vision is to make disciples is not a vision. This is your mission, and leaves your church without a vivid picture of how the future will be different if you do in fact make disciples. Ensure your vision is painting a picture of your future and the impact you will make.

3) The vision lacks leadership-wide ownership

Did you create a church-wide vision in a vacuum without input from others? Did you surprise your leaders?

Take time to engage others in the process. Seek God’s guidance as a team. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Let Him clarify your vision for not only you as the pastor, but also the entire team.

4) The vision lacks a roadmap forward

Spending the time clarifying your church’s vision makes no sense if you allow yourself to ignore it afterwards. Who will hold you accountable to implement your plans going forward? How will you create a culture of discipleship multiplication that is propelled by a hunger and excitement for your God-given vision?

Vision without implementation or a strategic roadmap forward is nothing more than a child daydreaming in elementary school. It has all the vividness of the future and no tangible plan for execution.



5) Your vision hasn’t been changed in 5-10 years

This may not necessarily be a deficiency if the vision was created with incredible foresight and big dreams. But regardless, churches should come back and evaluate the relevance of any vision clarity process at least every few years.

Our world changes. Your congregation will change. Your ministry philosophy may have changed. Don’t leave your vision behind.

6) Your vision doesn’t infect all parts of the church

When your vision is the priority you make decisions to cut activities that don’t realize that vision. You utilize your vision as a lens or criteria for evaluating what you do.

Don’t let your vision be an add-on that gets ignored by most. It should captivate you and your church as you commit to it being the future that God has laid on your hearts.

Pastors should preach on vision. They should talk about vision in side conversations. They should create videos about the vision of the future and also work to get others excited about the vision. Ask yourself what parts of the church your vision hasn’t clearly infected yet. Then get to work infusing vision clarity into that ministry area.

7) Your vision points inward at the expense of missional impact

Any church whose vision points exclusively or mostly inward risks irrelevance in the community and creates an unholy huddle separated from the world.

Did I just describe all or part of your church? Be honest. Make sure your vision is dripping with clear descriptions of the missional impact you and your church will have in the community and world in the days ahead.

Proverbs 29:18 tells us “Where there is no vision, people perish.” Your church needs a clear picture of the future that displays the glorious ways that God will work through you to expand His Kingdom, and transform hearts.

Our Strategic Envisioning process can help your church move quickly and efficiently into a plan that will impact the world for Christ locally and globally.  Reach out today to schedule a time to speak with a Malphurs Group Guide.


BONUS: Get a free Team Discussion Guide in the video description on YouTube.

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