I was recently asked to help someone think through and plan a meeting to facilitate a session to develop a mission, vision and values statement (MVV).
The mission answers the question why the organization exists, the vision points to where it is headed and the values are the guiding principles for prioritization, behaviors and decision making.
I am always excited when I speak to an organization that has gotten the revelation that a mission and vision statement serves as a guide to influence direction, strategy and decision making.
The good news is most churches that go through this process only have to do it one time with minor tweaks through the years.
When I facilitate sessions for developing a mission, vision and values statement, it is usually part of a strategic planning process. Therefore, the MVV session is the first step in creating a strategic plan and church goals.
This is because the vision drives the strategy and goals and objectives are how the strategy is achieved.
The beauty of having a written statement is that it takes all of the guess work out of decision making. Simply, if there is a decision that needs to be made, if it supports the mission and vision (assuming there are budget dollars available to fund it) then there should be efforts made to make it happen. If it doesn’t, then it becomes clear what that decision should be.
Churches have limited resources and should be used only for those things that support the mission.
There will always be good ideas, “let’s try this, oh no, let’s try that…” all with good intentions but if it does not line up with the mission and vision, church resources – people, time and money, should not be wasted on it.
Meeting sessions to create a MVV, should include people from the highest level of leadership within the church. Ideally, the church board along with church and volunteer leaders.
The group should be limited to 10 or 12 people to minimize the paralysis that comes with too many voices and opinions.
These types of sessions should also be facilitated by an objective third party to ensure that internal biases and political agendas don’t influence the outcome of the session.
Many churches have professionals within their membership who may be able to facilitate a session like this, if not it is well worth investing in the time of a professional to help.
A session to develop a MVV and strategy and goals typically takes two to three days, depending on many variables. The maturity of the team, the current church economic situation, political divides, church culture, etc.
This kind of session is best done in a neutral location. One that is free from distractions and interruptions.
Ideally a conference room at a local hotel or perhaps the backroom of a restaurant. Regardless, a comfortable setting, without interruptions, is what we’re going for.
Food is always an important part of sessions like this and regular breaks are important to help manage the information overload and brain drains these sessions produce.
It is important to keep the group moving by giving them breaks every 60-75. You also need to assume that everyone has a measure of attention deficit disorder and to facilitate the session accordingly.
The following is an agenda template that I use. Again, depending on the group, the allowed time and the task at hand this agenda changes but it is a great start for someone just trying to map out what this kind of meeting might look like.
Example Planning Retreat Agenda
Dinner – Welcome, introductions, icebreaker.
6:00 – 9:00 pm
Ground rules/expectations for the meeting.
Setting the stage – Why we are doing this?
Mission/Vision/Values brainstorm session.
Breakfast – Recap of prior session.
9:00 – noon
Gap analysis – Where are we as compared to where (vision) we want to be?
Strategy brainstorm for the next 1-3 years – How do we achieve the vision?
2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Church goal development (based on strategy). What needs to be done to fulfill strategy; who will do what and by when (accountability).
Identify measures for success.
9:00 am – noon
Reporting relationships (accountability)
Paid staff role job descriptions (what staff need to do to achieve goals)
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Volunteer roles identified
Volunteer job descriptions
6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Potential make up time
Communication plan for church
Again, this agenda is a basic template that can be tweaked and modified for your particular organization based on your meeting session goals.
The point is, if you haven’t invested the time in doing this, I encourage you to take that step and experience the refreshment that comes with knowing that you have identified a path forward toward fulfilling what God has called your church to do.
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God bless you for all you do!
For an editable copy of this agenda, click here.