Forming vision teams

By Jim LaDoux
The purpose of a Strategic Vision Team is to inspire a shared vision around God’s preferred future of your faith community that encompasses home and congregational life as well as online settings and engagement with the local and global community. Vision Teams keep the visioning process in front of the congregation by sharing stories and next steps related to the 4-step visioning process that includes:
  1. Forming the vision team.
  2. Reviewing what's present and real.
  3. Rethinking what's possible.
  4. Reinventing a new way of being using a strategic road map.

What  is  a  vision  team?

“A Vision Team is a small, cohesive group within an organization that provides leadership throughout the transformation process. It's guided by a capable leader who builds a cohesive team, positions its members for maximum impact, monitors progress, reflects on results, and celebrates short-term wins.”

What  do  vision  teams  look  like?

  • Typical teams are 4-7 people in size, comprised of lay leaders that represent various age groups and perspectives.
  • The pastor should be part of the team but should not serve as chair.
  • Most teams meet for 1-2 years, or until the work they oversee has been integrated into the church’s structure. They gather 6-8 times a year to develop a ministry road map, celebrate the progress being made, list next steps for living into the vision, and identify individuals and teams that may need assistance.
  • Team members stay in contact with each other through face-to–face gatherings, texting, emailing, Facebook groups, conference calls and video conferencing (for example, Vibrant Faith uses the Zoom platform).
  • Teams are often commissioned during worship when their term of service begins
  • Progress reports are often shared with staff and elected at monthly leadership meetings.
  • Members are kept abreast of key learnings, decisions, and next steps via e-newsletters, Facebook postings, zoom sessions, and Sunday morning forums

Traits  to  look  for  when   selecting members

  • Team members should be active participants in the mission and ministries of the church.
  • They should be positive, proactive, prayerful, team players who possess a “growth-mindset.”
  • They must be accessible by phone and email, and provide timely responses to questions or assignments between meetings.
  • They should have a track record of following through on their commitments and responsibilities.
  • They are usually well connected and have a strong network of relationships at and beyond the church.
  • They are respectful of the church’s history and traditions yet open to new approaches to ministry.
  • They should have sufficient time in their schedules to attend monthly meetings and do 1-3 hours of project work between meetings.

Roles  team  members  often  play  on  vision  teams

In addition to participating in team meetings, each member may be asked to oversee or manage a specific phase, stage or project related to the team.  Listed below are some common tasks that are assigned to team members:
Chair/Meeting Convener:
  • Serve as primary spokesperson for the team unless another person is assigned this task.
  • Build and lead powerful meeting agendas that often includes community building, reporting on recent projects, making decisions, assigning new tasks, and learning together.
  • Take meeting meeting notes; share notes with team members or post in shared drive.
  • Follow up with project coordinators or people who have been assigned tasks.
  • Monitor the dynamics and capacities of individual team members.

Researchers/Report Compilers
  • Compile short reports (in bulleted formats) and share with team members.
  • Reports often include summaries of Leadership Surveys, Congregational surveys, Community interviews, Community Demographics Reports. Local church leader reports, Asset Maps, etc. Reports are often merged into a Congregation & Community Profile Report that shared with members who participate in the visioning retreat.
  • Some teams also invite team members to read books, articles, and blogs related to the visioning tasks.

Congregational Communicator
  • Create short articles and posts that are shared at leadership meetings, e-newsletters, and social media sites.  The most common initial posts are highlighting the vision team members (include a photo), sharing team member roles, key learnings and insights from recent reports, recent decisions made, next steps, and how members can support the process.

Vision Retreat Coordinator (s)
  • Coordinate the logistics of hosting a vision retreat for staff, Board, and other leaders. 
  • Coordinate the production of the Retreat Handbook.
  • Send pre-retreat and post-retreat updates and inquiries to retreat participants.

Other projects are assigned as needed, based on the gifts and time other leaders have during the various phases of the visioning process.

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