GammillBy Rosalva Zimmerman

How clear, concise and compelling is your church’s vision?

That was the question Will Mancini, founder of Auxano — a church consulting firm — and author of Church Unique, had for those attending Mathetes, a discipleship conference held at the Sheraton Crescent Hotel in Phoenix, Aug. 22.

Mancini, along with Mike Gammill, lead navigator with Auxano, outlined for church leaders the steps of a “vision framing” process. The process helps churches discover their unique identity and develop plans to articulate and integrate vision into their culture.

About 220 church leaders from across Arizona participated in the day-long event aimed at helping churches unlock their congregation’s one-of-a-kind potential, said Eddy Pearson, Arizona Southern Baptist Convention evangelism/discipleship facilitator.

Mathetes was framed around the idea that every church should have a clear, simple process for making disciples. The team from Auxano laid the foundation for the process to help churches clarify their vision to be able to complete the statement, “Our church exists to glorify God and make disciples by …”

Each church has a unique call from God, a signature story that conveys what is special about it, Mancini said. The challenge is to discover that calling to “play the music God has given [it] to play,” he said.

The vision frame process asks five questions of leadership: “What are we doing?”; “Why are we doing it?”; “How are we doing it?”; “When are we successful?”; and “Where is God taking us?”

Churches will find the people God is calling them to reach when they discover how to meet their specific needs through a narrowed focus of ministry — the few things that are most important to those God has called that church to reach, Mancini said.

“The enemy is ‘generic’ vision — it sucks the meaning out of what you are trying to accomplish in your mission for God,” Mancini said. “No one gives their life to — or makes heroic sacrifices for — a generic mission. Having a unified purpose, fierce determination and total focus blows up the small thinking that pervades ministry every day.”Mancini

One post-conference evaluation summed it up this way: “We are a people of the box. The box is a prepared program given to us much like the Lone Ranger’s silver bullet. … What we learn overall is that the box does not fit or work in our context. … Auxano … believe[s] that each church is unique. … They help us answer the question, ‘Why has the Lord placed us in this community and how do we move forward?’ Pastors and staff/leaders learn to do the heavy lifting and determine the Lord’s direction.”

As a result of Mathetes, 15 churches signed up for an Auxano co::Lab being sponsored by the AZSBC this fall. Churches interested in finding out more about Auxano co::Labs may contact Eddy Pearson at eddy@azsbc.org.