Vision in the Small Church

September 06, 2017

by Rev. Phillip Hefner, Denton’s Chapel UMC - Morganton

We are all called to be good stewards of the resources – money, time, talent, and gifts – that God brings to our church regardless of the size of the congregation. The presence of a faithfully discerned, clearly stated, and effectively executed vision allows us to honor God by using those resources in the way God intended. However, ministry in a small, rural church makes the presence of a vision even more critical. Going through the visioning process has allowed us to develop a laser focus on who God has called us to be as individuals and a church by utilizing God’s resources faithfully.

Six months ago, our leaders went through the visioning process resulting in a playbook that defines what success looks like at Denton’s Chapel in the areas of worship, discipleship, outreach, generosity, and hospitality. Initially, we used the playbook to evaluate the things we do at our church eliminating several ministries whose seasons have passed, and redefined how we do other ministries in our church to make them more effective as they fall inline with our vision statements.

Currently our vision of being Christ to all is leading us into the future. This month we are beginning to discern the parameters for a new ministry, the 3 Mile Challenge. First and foremost, The 3 Mile Challenge is an outreach to our neighbors that demonstrates God’s love by meeting the people in our community (3 mile radius) where they are while meeting the basic needs of our neighbors. Initially we are focusing on the nutrition and health.

What makes the 3 Mile Challenge different is that our goal is to send teams out to individual homes in order to help families establish their own gardens. While our teams might initially do the majority of the planting and tending of the gardens, we will be mentoring and teaching each family who will assume more and more responsibility in the following years.

We also want to create relationships through teaching them how to can and preserve their vegetables along with creating our church up as a “nutrition center” for our community – bringing in outside agencies for classes and seminars. As we enter into a 4-month period of listening to God’s plan for the 3 Mile Challenge, our God-discerned vision sets parameters that will direct and evaluate this new ministry endeavor throughout the process.
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.