Developing a Ministry Vision Statement With an emphasis on Educational Ministries

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1 1 Developing a Ministry Vision Statement With an emphasis on Educational Ministries Where there is no vision, the people perish. Proverbs 29:18 Vision is an element of ministry that can really add to and direct programs and ministry as a whole. Who are we? What is our purpose? Where are we going? The greatest challenge in working with volunteers is helping them catch a vision and a passion. This is extremely important for the vitality of any parish ministry, including those who work with children. When evaluating your children's ministry programs, do you have set goals with which to measure how you are "doing?" One way is to draft a children's ministry vision statement. Pray. Talk to others. Keep in mind the people to be served. Then gather and begin to brainstorm. Consider three areas: mission, method and measure. Mission: Convey your passion: What do you want to accomplish? What is God calling you to do? What scriptures support your views? Think big - be compelling. Method: How do you plan to do all that you have a vision for in accordance with God's plan? What is God's plan for reaching the world? What is your plan for reaching your church and community? Measure: How will you know if you've realized your vision statement? This helps build a sense of accomplishment for volunteers to reach and continue to reach. If you have a Parish Mission Statement, does your vision fit with the "big picture"? Is it in keeping with "The Children's Charter" and our Baptismal Covenant? Once you have your vision statement, broadcast it! Put it on fliers, brochures, your Sunday bulletin. Set your goals according to your vision. Partner with other leadership and ministries within the parish. When calling volunteers, call them to the vision, not the "job." Use your vision statement as a filter for decision making and program planning. Purpose statements: Through Christian Education we invite people and communities of faith to be transformed as they are inspired and challenged to: know and experience God through Jesus Christ, claim and live God s promises, and grow and serve as Christian disciples. (from the United Methodist Church) The primary purpose of Christian Education in the Episcopal Church is to equip us to live out our Baptismal Covenant. The Baptismal Covenant... calls us into a living relationship with Jesus Christ calls us to live out our beliefs We can best begin our process of learning and teaching by: reflecting on life exploring our call examining the Baptismal Covenant

2 2 Creating a Vision or Ministry Direction 1. Personal Vision: What images come to mind when you hear the words Christian Education? What is it that is calling you to in your ministry to children (youth, adults) at your parish? 2. What is the purpose of the church school (youth, adult) in your congregation? Where does the ministry of teaching occur? How is your congregation providing settings and opportunities for study? How is it transmitting information about the Christian faith? What information does your church teach? Not teach? 3. What is needed by your children (youth, adults) that you can or would like to provide? How does your congregation pass on traditions to children? Youth? Adults? New members? How do you provide time to reflect on what has been learned? How do you provide the space needed for God to pray in and through others?

3 3 The Gifts of an Effective Christian Education Ministry What 3 or 4 gifts were given to you by the Christian Education activities of your congregation as a child? (youth, adult, new member) How well have these gifts served you during your lifetime? What life & faith gifts would you like your programs to give to children, youth, and adults?

4 4 Scripture Study in small groups A. My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:3-5 B. Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:31-32 C. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. Colossians 2:6-10 What does the text say about mission of the faith community? How does this text challenge us in education? What is the voice in this text that calls us to mission? What is the common thread in all of them?

5 5 Steps to Completing a Mission Statement 1. List words or phrases that you would like to see in a mission statement Examples: Education is a life long journey We seek to live out our Baptismal Covenant We are called to live out our ministry in the community Some biblical starting points: Deuteronomy 6:4-9 2 Peter 1:2-8 Philippians 4:4-9 2 Timothy 3:15 Matthew 28: Colossians 3: Have individuals come up with their own statements. 3. Bring back to the group and work to combine them. 4. Compare this list with your original discussion of biblical images, theological descriptions and educational philosophy. What do you need to add, change, or eliminate in your vision? 5. As you begin to reach agreement, draft a statement of purpose for Christian Education. Put your work aside and decide to meet again later to look at your work. Visions for ministry usually emerge gradually as people listen to one another and to God. 6. When you meet again, ask these questions: How does this statement reflect our understanding of the role of Christian education in our congregation? How does this statement reflect our understanding of God s call to provide for the faith formation of children, youth and adults? Does this statement describe a vision of the future that we believe we can reach? If not, your statement may be too vague or too large. How could you make it more specific to your own place of ministry? Does this statement limit your vision for ministry? If so, how might you expand it? 7. Plan a way to share it with the greater community. 8. Review your statement on a regular basis don t forget about it it should be a living document! Keep your vision alive, growing, and expanding!

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