As I noted in the last post, defining mission precedes developing vision. The mission is like the acorn and the vision is the tree. Or to take an example closer to home, the “mission” of the Jewish people is “to be holy” (am kadosh) and our “vision” of what that looks like includes living in the Messianic era: an age characterized by complete justice, peace, compassion, dignity and equality for all human life, respect for animal life and the environment and, more specifically, the Jewish people living peacefully in its historic homeland.
A congregational vision should answer the questions:
- By virtue of our work, what do we want the world to ideally look like?
- Through our collective actions, how can we take the world as it exists and make it approximate more of the world as we wish it to be?
By being disciplined about mission, while some of the more lofty aspirations of the vision may be far off, more immediate parts of it become achievable. Why? Because your mission keeps pointing you to that desire future and keeps you from having organizational A.D.D., chasing the newest idea instead of keeping a steady hand on the helm. When your mission is tight, it will guide the creation of a beautifully crafted vision, and together they will remain an ongoing source of energy to complete the work that your congregation or organization has been called to do.
Having a compelling congregational vision motivates people to become involved and act because it gives them a positive alternative future toward which they can work. You were very helpful in sharing your experiences around congregational mission. Now-please share your experiences with congregational vision.
- Does your congregation have one? How often does it inform your organizational actions?
- What was the process for developing that vision?
- If your congregation needed a new one, how would you go about creating it?
Thanks, Rabbi Herring