While the vision of Hillsong Church hasn’t changed much over 30+ years, each and every year we dedicate a Sunday in early February to re-articulating that vision and sharing a message that is representative of the heartbeat of our church.
Habakkuk 2:2 (ESV) says, “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.”
A fruitful Vision Sunday is not just about producing a slick looking video presentation that makes everyone say WOW, rather to be effective it must include these two critical components:
- Make the vision clear
- Give people something to run with
The Creative team (including Communications and TV) go to great lengths to articulate a clear vision through various media, but the true success of Vision Sunday is the ability of your team and congregation to continue running with that vision for the next 12 months. After all it is your people that will bring the vision to pass.
We recently held a live webinar with our Hillsong Leadership Network members to deconstruct what goes into a Vision Sunday. Here are 15 practical tips to help you make the vision clear, and then give people something to run with.
Part 1 – “Write the vision; make it plain…”
- Firstly find a natural start point in your year. The start of a new year works perfectly as people innately desire to start afresh or live their faith with a new level of commitment. Alternatively the end of summer holidays marks another obvious starting point.
- Build anticipation by slowly building momentum over the course of 3-4 weeks. You might start with a short teaser video in Church News building up to a brochure on seats. Not every member of the congregation attends every week, so by launching early momentum can build and equip people to be bringers.
- Planning and production will often have to start months in advance, so if you don’t yet know what the core message of your Vision Sunday is going to be, create the presentation to reinforce the foundational culture and heartbeat of you as a church.
- Focus on what is in the Senior Pastor’s heart for the year rather than just an impressive presentation. It’s not a video that causes people to commit and own a vision, but hearing what God has said and aligning with that.
- Reference key milestones in your church’s history. The congregation loves to see the funny fashion and hairstyles, but more than that the journey you’ve already been on to help show you where God is taking you.
- It’s not about the special effects, so focus on communicating your core message first. People’s personal testimonies are incredibly powerful as they share their own journey and from that foundation you can add the extra flare.
- Purchase footage from iStock, Shutterstock and Filmsupply to incorporate interesting footage that will give your story grandeur and passion for your city. Nowadays there’s a good chance people in your congregation have personal drones that can add spectacular aerial perspectives too. For background music, Musicbed allows you to purchase high quality music across all genres at an affordable price.
- Include an announcement in Vision Sunday that your congregation has not heard before – it could be a new initiative, starting a new service or campus, or strategy to impact a different part of the city. Be careful not to try to have bigger and better announcements than the year before, but ultimately to point people to Jesus.
- If you have a Sunday night service don’t just repeat the same morning service but create a feeling of celebration – add in different creative elements, expand on the message and why not include baptisms to stir faith.
- Ensure you’ve invested in your staff and team to get them 100% onboard with the vision for the year. Encourage every staff member to ask themselves what it means for them and their department. It is incredibly powerful to have a team that owns the vision and is speaking a unified language.
Part 2 – “…so he may run who reads it.”
- During the week after Vision Sunday gather your leaders, volunteers and Connect Groups for a special event (we called them Heart & Soul nights) where you can break down the vision and make it more personal to each area of church life.
- Budget a small amount of money in order to be able to give something to your congregation that they can take away with them to remember the vision by. This could be as simple as a wristband or a refrigerator magnet.
- Turn your Vision Sunday message into a series of Connect Group studies for your whole congregation to go through together in a more intimate environment. Plus if you have songwriters in your team encourage them to be writing about the vision that’s been shared. Some of our most powerful and resonating songs have originated this way.
- Weave the language of the vision into campaigns throughout the year. This does not always need to be done explicitly or literally, but can be in the body text of brochures and event descriptions.
- Utilise your MC spots each week to put the vision in context. Sharing praise reports is a fantastic way to frame the things that God is doing throughout the year and remind church that what was prophesied is coming to fruition.
These tips were originally shared during a live webinar for Senior Pastors in the Hillsong Leadership Network hosted by Darren Kitto. If you would like to watch the full recording or find out more about future events from the Hillsong Leadership Network, click below.