I was just reading Teresa's post on Tony's blog on finding out what people are really looking for in a visit to a church. The main thing that struck me (besides that they have a full time paid staff person in charge of getting people involved after Sunday morning) is the visitor's question about where the money and time goes. This question wouldn't come up if someone really understood, even before they walked onto your campus/through your door, what you were all about.
People don't get why they should be investing their time and money in church. They don't understand why they'd invest in your company either. They need to see exactly why your company/church/friendship will make a difference in the world and how their participation will help make that real.
Why should I buy a Robek's smoothie or shop at ColdStone? Why should I go to St. Matthew's over St. David's (besides it being hard to find St. David's Web site)? Why would I be friends with Bill, who seems aimless, when I can be friends with Bob who has a clear vision and plan that I understand and support?
Communicating vision has got to be one of the most important things we do. The organization (or ourselves) needs to identify, understand, communicate and live that vision.
What's my vision? Honestly, I'm still working on it and it changes all the time. Right now my vision is to:
Impact lives by helping people feel accepted, comfortable and loved and to make my family feel as though I spend too much time with and energy on them. I want people to see the benefit of serving God through my own actions.
So, do I really live that vision? Do people hear about that vision even before they meet me? Does it mesh with the church/store/friends that I surround myself with? As a church, do people know that our focus is to get every individual learning and talking about God to their friends and strangers?
I'm really thinking that this whole vision thing is one of the most important items to execute. Once we have that, it's easy to focus on making things happen.