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Overview of Sending Church Element 3: Developing a Vision

A sending church develops a vision when it takes into consideration both its missions convictions and the uniqueness of its context to develop a short and clear vision statement. This then leads to discerning and narrowing the specific place(s) and people(s) to engage both locally and globally. Although the vision is God-sized, the church encapsulates it in a simple and compelling statement that can be embraced by all of its leaders and members. - Upstream Collective Sending Church Element #3

Words can capture the hearts and emotions of people. It can help them rise beyond their slumber and into a vision that is beyond themselves. But that doesn't happen without time and attention given to the words chosen, the order of them, and the tone in which they are delivered. This is an art form, one that takes time to develop, but with the right effort has incredible impact. It is amazing how a short phrase can prick the heart in a way lengthy prose cannot.

Journalists, advertisers, and motivational speakers all know the power of words. They spend their lives crafting short messages to get readers to read their article, to buy their product, or set people’s hearts on fire. The time and attention they give and expertise towards it is admirable. But their vision for their words is too small. We have the greatest message ever told. We have the greatest mission in human history. Yet we seem to be either unwilling or unable to craft vision in the way these professionals can. It’s time for our churches to do this better, clearer, and in a more compelling way.

"Developing a Vision gives importance to defining a clear, simple, and compelling vision statement that draws your church members into God’s global mission."

The Sending Church Element of Developing a Vision gives importance to defining a clear, simple, and compelling vision statement that draws your church members into God’s global mission. This vision statement flows from the awareness that has been cultivated and the convictions that have been embraced. It pieces it all together, provides a North Star for your missions vision to run to and be realigned to after missions drift.

Upstream is here to help you Develop a Vision in your church. Here are a few ways:

  • A subscription to the resources on our website gives you access to practical ideas for Developing a Missions Vision for your church. Resources include:

“Developing a Vision Worksheet”

  • Our book, Sending Church Applied (Fall 2021), will take a deeper dive into how to Develop a Missions Vision with your missions team and church leadership.

  • The Foundations Cohort will give extensive training and personalized coaching to help craft and finalize your church’s vision statement and communicate it clearly and compellingly.


Mike Easton is the International Program Manager for Reliant Mission. Prior to that Mike was the Missions Pastor at Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa, for eight years, where he got to experience the ins and outs of being a sending church. He served on staff with Cornerstone 2006 to 2022 in varying roles–from college ministry to pastoral staff to being an overseas missionary sent from Cornerstone for two years. Mike is the Director of Content for the Upstream Collective. Mike, his wife, Emily, and their four kids continue to live in Ames, IA, and serve at Cornerstone.

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