More Than a Pep Rally

Most of us have been to a pep rally at some time in our lives or a sporting event where we cheer for our team.  There is some humor and a lesson that can be learned from our participation as fans at one of these events.  The trumpet blows followed by everyone standing and yelling, “Charge!”  Then we all sit down to eat our hot dogs, popcorn, and nachos.  We aren’t in the game and we do not know the game plan.  We are only spectators!

Every team has a particular cheer or song that unites everyone in the stadium.  In high school my sons played sports for the Ft. Gibson Tigers so every game we heard “The Eye of the Tiger.”  In college football the Razorbacks call the hogs, Oklahoma has Boomer Sooner, and Georgia has “Who Let the Dogs Out!”  In churches today we have a “Vision Statement’ that is meant to rally the troops in our churches to carry out God’s Great Commission.

Vision has the ability to excite people, rally them, and urge them to join in the game.  Vision statements are worthless without a game plan that will turn followers into spectators.  What is you process of discipleship and does everyone in your church know how to get from point A to point B?  Vision needs an easy step-by-step reproducible process to ensure progress toward its fulfillment.  Every member should know what that process is and be able to explain it to others.

Churches should be good at welcoming people, inviting people, and building relationships with people outside of the church.  One problem is that when they are ready to join the team there is no system in place to show them the step-by-step process for greater involvement.  Some may say, “That doesn’t sound very spiritual and you don’t need a system!”  The truth is that not having a system is a system but not a very good one.

In Church in the Making Ben Arment describes a system as “the way your organization operates.  It’s a series of steps that are repeated (or not repeated) as a way of accomplishing your goals.”  If you’re thinking that doesn’t sound scriptural, Paul gave Timothy a system when he said, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 

When a church understands its unique vision (if members cannot articulate it easily they don’t understand it) then you can then begin the process of developing a system to carry out that vision.  The system should always serve the vision, protect the vision, and help carry out the vision.  Clear vision enables leaders to navigate difficult times and hard decisions because they know where they are headed.  A church can become the victim of circumstances unless it has a clearly defined unapologetic vision.   

Here are a couple of quotes on vision from Thom Rainer; “A vision statement can be concise and clear but unless it is communicated well, it has little power…It isn’t enough to talk about vision from the pulpit.  It must be lived out by the leaders…An unclear vision statement can actually do more harm than good.”  When you know what God wants you to do and how He wants you to carry it out in your context it gives you the freedom to do it and the liberty to not do anything outside His vision for your church!

Vision is important but without a system in place to sustain the vision it can easily just become a pep rally.  Everyone gets excited for a moment but then they sit down and are not involved in the process.  Vision is where you compare the present reality with a desired future.  This is where people are asking what it means to be a disciple and how they can be more involved.  Here is where you Engage them Personally.

People must know you heard them when they said they wanted to be more committed to your vision.  When they are ready to take the next step(s) everyone needs to know what those next steps are.  Systems enable people to know how to move from an observer to a seeker to a follower and then to investors of their lives into the vision.  This is phase 2 where you begin Equipping then in Practical Ways

The reason you create a system is to make you more effective at achieving your vision.  You must consider what it takes to reach people, what it takes to keep them moving forward in their faith journey, what it takes to keep them engaged, what it takes to equip them for the journey, and what it takes for them to be effective disciples.  This is where systems fit in the big picture.  They Empower a Process that is easily reproducible and sustainable.  We will be discussing in the weeks to come systems that give our vision the opportunity for long success!         

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