There are a few churches John and I like to keep tabs on — listening to their sermons each week, even getting their email newsletters. They’re doing a lot of things right, and it’s inspiring to watch them chase after God-sized dreams (and to think about how their best ideas might translate to our own home church!).
One of our favorites is Church of the City, a network of neighborhood churches in Nashville. We feel like we’ve been with them since the beginning, and we kind of have — we followed their main pastor when he was on staff at his old church, before he moved to Tennessee and planted the first COTC location. Over their relatively brief lifetime as a church family, they have had a craaaaaazy story, including but not limited to launching six worshipping communities (including a Spanish language and a New York City location); partnering with an established Nashville church who was so drawn to COTC they approached them with the idea of a merger; and retiring millions of dollars of debt carried over with that merger.
Needless to say, it’s been an eventful five years especially as their community has grown from the small founding handful to the thousands attending each weekend. Keeping the flame of passion, purpose, ingenuity, unity, and sincerity alive — casting the vision for who they are as a church body — must be one of the hardest things the leadership is tasked with. Unsurprisingly (if you know how well they have historically led their people!), they have gotten out ahead of this in many ways, but most impactfully with Vision Sunday.
Once a year, they rent a concert hall in Nashville and gather all of their local communities to worship and dream together. They share stories from their people, stories that remind them who they are and why they do what they do. They paint a picture of where they’ll travel in the next year and what they’ll grow together. They worship. I’ve only experienced it online (and not even as a “real” member of the church!) and I leave every year energized and inspired — I can’t imagine what it would be like to attend in person!
All this to say that the fact that this church has been successful in its mission and that it is continually reminding itself of that mission — as well as intentionally evaluating its success and setting new goals to press further into that mission — is no coincidence.
Proverbs 29:18 says where there is no vision, the people perish. Wither. Shrink. Dry up and grow stale. And as it goes for churches, so it goes for relationships. I’ve shared before that one of my favorite nights of the year is our December celebration dinner, where John and I spend a few hours chatting through a series of questions to look back and ahead. It’s a chance for us to cheer our union on as much as it is an opportunity to decide how we’d like to grow together in the year ahead. (Our bimonthly net worth chats are a kind of mini, financial version of this!)
And finally, as for relationships, so it is for individuals. The best way I know to ensure that I’m continually moving toward the person I hope to become is with my PowerSheets. The yearly prep work and monthly Tending Lists keep me motivated, diligent, attentive to my life, and pressing forward.
There is no “there” where it will suddenly be easy to give reflexively, pray continually, adventure mightily, eat mindfully, parent patiently, read voraciously, or anything else we deeply desire. We have to light the flame of all these things, and then we have to tend to it.
I do that with PowerSheets, and I wanted you to know the 2019 sets go on sale today! I think you will love them. And if you’ve never tried them before, maybe this is your year :)
In the meantime, I would love to hear: do you have a routine of vision casting or review in your life? Or in an organization you’re a part of it? It can be so powerful!
P.S. Aside from the PowerSheets, my absolute favorite product from the new collection is the Joyful Greeting Card Set. I’ve mentioned before that one of my life hacks is to use Black Friday sales to stock up on greeting cards – but with this set (24 cards for $24), you don’t need to wait for a sale. The price and quality is incredible, and this set’s versatility is such that you’ll use every card in the box! (Just think about the price of a single birthday card at Target right now. You’re welcome :)) It is *possible* that these could sell out this week, so I wanted to give you a heads-up if you’re a snail mail lover like me!