The Death of Vision (Statements)


We don’t have a vision a statement. Crazy. I know. When I was a student pastor in the late 90’s I read the book, Purpose Driven Youth Ministry. I grew up going to an Episcopal church that didn’t have much of a youth ministry. So I didn’t have a clue how to do youth ministry. I was grateful for PDYM because it taught me how to do an effective student ministry. I followed the book like a fundamentalist follows Leviticus. I did everything it said and saw some pretty great success.



Like its parent book, Purpose Driven Church, it tells its readers one thing every effective ministry must have is a vision statement. Something that tells everyone where you’re going. But not just any vision statement, an effective vision statement is a 5-point vision statement, utilizing the 5 points of the purpose driven model.

  • Evangelism
  • Discipleship
  • Fellowship
  • Ministry
  • Worship

So churches all over the US started hanging nylon banners in their fellowship halls with statements like this:

“First Church exists to REACH the city, GROW people, KNOW friends, SERVE the earth for the GLORIFY of God.”



Then Andy Stanley came out. Like cows that follow the hay bails to pasture, we left the green grass of Rick Warren’s 5-point model and Hawaiian shirts to follow the now bigger, slicker, skinny jean wearing more successful model.

Andy believed, 5 points is too much for anyone to remember. Churches need a vision that is “portable and memorable.” So younger churches (by younger I mean led by younger pastors) began crafting memorable short statements. Like:



If these statements feel like they are lacking something that’s because they are. This new model of communicating vision intentionally lacks theological expressions. Where the Purpose Driven statements may have been too verbose but maintained some theological girding. The new kind of vision statements, like much of today’s fast companies, are out to be more catchy and less accurate. These statements still linger today in churches but are slowly dying off as more churches move away from vision statements towards simply a vision from core principles.


That is what we have chosen to do at Anchor Way Church. When I became the pastor the church it was a sweet church but lacked vision. So I spent months with the elders in prayer, study, discussion and sometimes, heated debate about the vision of the church. We all decided no vision statement could communicate what we wanted to communicate. We decided that it would be best to establish core principles and let those be the face of Anchor Way’s mission strategy.


What are they? Glad you asked. They are:






For the next three Sunday mornings (o9.11  09.18  09.25) we will be addressing these three core principles and how they act as catalysts for our church to accomplish the mission of Christ.


Thanks for reading.

Andrew Werley


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