Preaching a vision sermon series is too often relegated to a few select messages at the beginning of the calendar year or the school year. A spotlight is placed on the pathway forward and language emerges appearing to be central to the way forward and then at the end of the series it never shows up again.
For any group of people to pull together in one direction, there needs to be a shared vision uniting everyone in mission and purpose. This is true in business, in families, and in churches. Preaching vision is important because it reminds your congregation of that one direction.
Instead of looking at a vision sermon series as an opportunity to cast new vision, preachers should use each message to remind their people of the common language to the point where church members can remember and recite the vision without much help. Ultimately, you’re not casting a new vision, but setting aside time to reiterate the current vision.
Preaching through a vision sermon series isn’t just teaching about God’s word but about leading people through the preaching. It’s a slow, continuous drip of a unifying mission that inspires the church to move in a forward motion toward a common goal. Ultimately fulfilling the great commission in a way that is true to the call God has placed on your ministry.
Who to Keep In Mind As You Plan Your Vision Sermon Series
You, the Pastor
The very first question you should ask yourself is, are you, the pastor, moving in the direction of this vision? There are many great church visions, but if the vision isn’t core to who you are, it will be hard to lead with authenticity.
Don’t be so desperate to see God do something that you just copy and paste from what another pastor is doing. If you do, you will likely change your vision every year because it will drain you instead of fueling you with passion and purpose. When you are leading out of a vision that is authentic to your calling, you can keep repeating it for years with genuine excitement.
Once you establish a vision that truly burns inside of you, bring it to a group of trusted people who can help refine it and help you determine what resonates with not just you, the leader, but also with others.
Your stakeholder group consists of core attenders, high-capacity volunteers, and Board Members or Elders. While the church vision should be set by the leader and not by community census, the first time your stakeholders hear your vision message shouldn’t be during a vision series on a Sunday morning.
If you are rolling out your vision series and stakeholders are hearing it for the first time, you have missed some steps.
Stakeholders are the group you can drip the vision to for feedback and fine-tuning. Bringing them on board with the vision before the vision sermon series allows them to act as your advocates to the rest of the congregation.
One of the best ways to know if your stakeholders have bought into your vision is to hear them pray. Are their prayers for your church and the congregation aligned with the vision?
Ultimately your stakeholders will be the ones walking out your vision, and they must be able to explain it easily. On Sunday after church, everyone won’t stand in line to talk to the pastor, but they will have conversations with prominent church members and ask their thoughts. You set yourself up for a win when you equip your stakeholders to answer these questions and give them time to process and get fully onboard in advance of your vision sermon series.
This group will likely hear your vision for the first time on a Sunday morning. Still, the vision shouldn’t feel so different from what they already know and experience at your church that they feel blindsided or confused.
If you are constantly dripping the vision without saying “this is our vision” when you do launch into an official vision series they could easily piece together, “Okay, that makes sense. I think I’ve heard this before, or at least it strikes me as consistent.”=
Anytime you preach, you always want to have guests in mind. There will always be first-time guests in your audience, and hopefully, what you tell them in that moment will make them want to come back for more.
If you are preaching through a vision series it definitely will have more ‘family-like’ content. Do what you can to be a good host and let first-time guests in on what is taking place in the ‘family living room.’
“If you’re joining us for the first time today we’re so glad you’re here and you’ve caught us on a Sunday where we are sharing some things that have been central to how we see ourselves in the community and how we believe God wants to use our church to be the best friend our community has. So thank you for being here, we’re glad you get to listen in, and if something you hear today sounds interesting or confusing or prompts a question, please come speak with me after service. I’d love to meet you.”
Key Considerations When Rolling Out Your Vision
The “rally cry” concept comes from Patrick Lencioni, author of The Advantage.
A rally cry is a three to six-month focus on what is most important for our church right now. Your vision shouldn’t be changing every six months, but there could be a specific portion of the vision that you may want to highlight for a short period. It doesn’t have to be blatant and in-your-face.
Simply consider, if the north star is our vision, what does our focus need to be right now to step in that direction?
Vision By Definition is Visual
Vision is trying to paint a picture with words, analogies, stories, and testimonies. Impactful vision messages say, here’s how we are already seeing this. We’ve already tasted the goodness of this vision, but how can we taste it a lot more?
Your vision message should bring people into an emotional experience at a heart level that piques their interest.
Non-visual vision casting: Drop your kids off on Wednesday nights for pizza and games.
Visual vision casting: We invite students to join us on Wednesday nights, where they will build friendships through interactive games and by sharing a meal. We will follow this time with small groups where students can have one-on-one conversations with adults they can trust.
It takes intentionality and time to bring vision to life with visual pictures. Your vision message should cause a little bit of a head tilt moment, or it may be too bland. When people hear it, they should have to pause, internalize and process it for a moment.
A Vision Series is Not Just a One-Time Event
There is a forest fire today of cultural idolatry, and pastors have been given a little squirt gun to try and extinguish the flames.
If you preach a vision sermon series and never mention it again, you might push the forest fire back for a moment, but with no additional water, it will continue to grow and rage.
You should continually drip your vision message in everything your church does.
Vision isn’t a message, it is a mission and that mission must be made unique to your context and then repeated often if you want it to make a mark in your community.
What Are You Calling People To?
The purpose of a vision sermon series is to move people. You ultimately want to be calling them to something, and you want it to be clear what it is you are calling them to.
When your church says, “I’m in, so now what?” the answer should be in front of them. It is frustrating for people who resonate with your vision but don’t know what to do next.
Before launching your vision series, have an assimilation process in place.
Will you have connection cards? What meetings or classes are people encouraged to attend? What tools will the church need to provide for people to live out the vision?
A few ideas to consider:
- An Intro to Faith class for new believers
- Baptism Orientation
- Sharing Your Faith 101
- Membership Classes
- How to Read and Understand the Bible classes
- Small Group strategy
- Bible Reading Plan
- Service or Mission Opportunities
There should be testimonies that come out of your vision message. Give the microphone on Sunday morning to someone else who can articulate not only why they believe it but how living out the vision has impacted their life or someone close to them.
Measuring the Success of your Vision
One of the most encouraging aspects of ministry leadership is hearing the mission and vision of the church pop up in conversations about people’s experience with the church. It’s rewarding to know the mission is taking root.
But there are other ways to measure if the vision is gripping the hearts of your people.
You can evaluate the success of your vision message by:
- Noticing if people are saying it themselves
- Do people make fun of it back to you? They know it well enough to mock it!
- Watching for stories of real-life application of the vision. (Remember to share these with the church on Sunday mornings!)
- Asking your stakeholders and small group leaders where they see the vision lived out. Not only does this provide you with more insight, but it is another way to cast vision. When you ask people to start looking for it, it takes their understanding and awareness to a new level.
If none of these are happening and your vision doesn’t seem to be catching, then evaluate.
Where do you need to go back to the drawing board and find new ways to articulate your vision message?
Preaching Vision Sermon Series Ideas
Your vision and sermon series should be unique to your church. That said, you will benefit greatly from exploring big ideas, themes, illustrations, and examples of how to bring the vision to life in your sermon.
Here are some vision sermon series recommendations to inspire your sermon series and individual messages as you embark on preaching through a vision series.
Revival: Spiritual Awakening And Renewal
We Are The Church
Vision Map – Charting A Course For Your Biggest Hopes And Dreams
DNA: The Core of the Local Church
Confessions of a Pastor
Upon This Rock
Capital Campaign Vision Series
An extension of a vision sermon series might be the need to raise funds in order to bring a certain aspect of the vision to life. Maybe it is a new facility, buying new land, planting a church, or partnering with an organization connected to your bigger mission.
Here are some suggested sermon series ideas for preaching through a capital campaign vision series.
Heart for the House
Own the Vision
New Year Sermon Series Ideas for Preaching Vision
Your vision should leak throughout the year. That’s the best way to bring the vision to reality. Still, the beginning of the year is a great opportunity to start the conversation. Maybe you’re launching a new season of ministry, or maybe you want to remind the congregation of the mission you have been pursuing for years. Either way, the new year provides a natural platform for preaching vision.
Here are some sermon series ideas for integrating vision into the new year.
21 Days of Prayer and Fasting
Trust the Process
Pray Like This
Preaching Through Podcast: Preaching Through A Vision Sermon Series
If you’re interested in discovering more insights into preaching through a vision sermon series listen to this episode of Preaching Through Podcast with Dave Shrein and Luke Simmons.