I recently returned from the Hillsong Conference in NYC, where I heard one throwaway comment by Lead Pastor of Hillsong Global, Brian Houston—a man I have long admired. He referred to a document called “The Church I See” and the way it served as a governing vision for the organization. I was struck by the fact that he was simply writing what he believed the church could be and where he felt the opportunities for his ministry were ripening, and the people around him seized that vision and began to rally around it.
I don’t want to idealize the process, but there is something refreshing about “The Church I See” in opposition to the standard five-year plan or vision statement. Of course, Houston’s document is not actually any different, but it feels different. And because it feels different, it captures a different imagination.
Today in Sandbox (our weekly staff meeting at The Winds), I’ll be asking our staff for input about the components of a similar document for us. We already have plans and goals—they’re even published weekly in our bulletin—but I want to look out a little further, to dream a little more ambitiously.
When I traveled to the Hillsong conference, I went with my friends and fellow Westwinds leaders Becky, Kelly, and Kevin. Kelly leads our music right now, and Kevin and Becky are both heavily involved. Kelly has been on staff for five years, and Becky was previously on staff. These are people who know me and who have first-hand experience with how I work and how I think.
And they had no clue about many of my ambitions and desires, or the opportunities and next steps I perceive for Westwinds. That’s not to say they were ignorant of any of my dreams, just that there was an entire sphere of ambition I had never previously shared.
Kelly said, “You should tell people.”
So I will.
As I do, here are the concerns that roll around in my mind. I hope to mitigate them, but they’re not insignificant at the outset:
- I’m nervous about boring people with my pontificating.
- I’m wary of making concrete goals while knowing I have no idea how to make things happen on a particular timeline.
- I feel as though I fail so often, and achieve so little, that I’ll have to function well into my 90’s in order to do anything the Lord has prepared for me; so, when I speak about the future, I’m very aware that I might not live to experience it
- I’m also nervous about speaking in such a way that it either destabilizes our church or feels like critique. I love our church, but I feel there’s more for us. I just don’t want to disparage what we’ve got in pursuit of what we want next.
I’d appreciate a little prayer as I head into this season of discernment. It will assuredly be fun, but I’d like it to also be meaningful.