This workshop is designed to help groups or individuals work through developing and understanding their own mission, vision, and identity. These are the some of the notes from the workshop:

Let’s take a look at what “mission” means in the bible. In the Old Testament, we find the Hebrew word, DEREK, which means: way, path, journey, undertaking, business, manner, custom, conduct, way of behavior, activity, behavior demanded by God, situation. This word appears 2,678 times. In the New Testament, we have the Greek word, DIAKONION, which means: service, office, ministry, aid, support, distribution, kind. We find this word 33 times.

What does “vision” look like in scripture? In the Old Testament, we find the word, HAZON, which means vision or revelatory word. Some examples are found in: 1 Samuel 3:1; 1 Chronicles 17:5; Psalm 89:19; Isaiah 1:1, 29:7; Jeremiah 14:14, 23:16; Lamentations 2:9; Ezekiel 7:13-26, 12:22-27, 13:16; Daniel 1:17, 8:1-26, 9:21-24, 10:14, 11:14; Hosea 12:11, Obadiah 1:1; Micah 3:6; Nahum 1:1; Habakkuk 2:2-3. In the New Testament, we have the word, HORAMA, which means vision. Some examples of this are found in: Matthew 17:9; Acts 7:31, 9:10-12, 10:13-19, 11:5, 12:9, 16:9-10, 18:9. We also have the word APOKALUPSIS which means revelation or disclosure. Some examples of this are found in: Luke 2:32; Romans 2:5, 8:19, 16:25; 1 Corinthians 1:7, 14:6, 14:26; 2 Corinthians 12:1, 12:7; Galatians 1:12, 2:2; Ephesians 1:17, 3:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:7-13, 4:13; Revelation 1:1.

(photo by Dmitriy)

Church – 76 times: Jesus = Matthew 16:18, Matthew 18:15, Matthew 18:17 (2x), Matthew 18:21. Acts = 17 times. Pauline tradition = 43 times. Others letters = 5 times. Revelation 7 times for the seven churches. EKKLESIA = assembly, gathered for a purpose, Christians living in one place, universal Christians.

We find mission/vision statements in Scripture:

  • Proverbs 29:18a (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
  • Micah 6:8 – What does the Lord require?
  • Matthew 22:36-40 (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 10:25-28) – Great Commandment
  • Matthew 28:19-20 – Great Commission
  • In Mark 8:34-38, Jesus tells his followers to leave everything, pick up their cross and follow him.
  • In Luke 9:51-10:12, we have Jesus letting his followers know how their journeys may look.
  • Luke 10:25-37 – Who is my neighbor?
  • John 15:12-13 – New commandment is love
  • Acts 1:8 –four spheres of witness
  • Acts 2:42-49 – life among believers
  • 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 – spiritual gifts
  • Galatians 5:22-26 – Fruit of the Spirit
  • Hebrews 11:33-34 – faith accomplishes
  • Hebrews 13:1-16 – hospitality
  • Revelation 2:1-3:22 – Seven Churches


What is the difference between mission and vision? Mission is what we are called to do. Vision is how we are called to live that out. What does it mean to be “church”? Augsburg Confession, Article VII “It is also taught among us that one holy Christian church will be and remain forever. This is the assembly of all believers among whom the Gospel is preached in its purity and the holy sacraments are administered according to the Gospel.” What does this say about mission and vision in terms of our lives? It says we are to GO! It deals with sacrifice. We realize it is all about God’s will and not our will. Everyone and everything has a mission and vision. Are we living into it? How do we come to determine our mission and vision? We offer this up in prayer and listen for an answer. We seek guidance in scripture. We study the particular paths. We discuss with others. Characteristics of a community with a potential for growth are: having a collective sense of what God is them to be; a willingness to change to fulfill that purpose; leadership works together as a team; ministry is all the time for all people (priesthood of believers; and the people are empower to fulfill the mission. How does a community identify a God’s call: prayer, Bible study, resource study, and conversation. This is an on-going process.


Metro NY Synod (ELCA) Resolution on Congregational Viability

  • Gather weekly for worship
  • Call a pastor
  • Hold an annual meeting of the congregation
  • Elect congregation council and officers
  • Provide audited financial statements
  • Share in fellowship of the Synod, ELCA, provide mission support, and attend Synod Assembly
  • Submit an annual parochial report to the ELCA
  • Maintain upkeep and safety of buildings and property
  • Secure adequate insurance for property and persons
  • Keep current with financial obligations


Development of Community Practices – A Community Rule of Life

We should seek to adopt/explore faithful Christian practices from various contemporary and ancient sources in order to develop a community “rule” to guide us in our daily life, growth and discernment of God’s mission.

12 marks of New Monasticism, ed. by Rutba House

  1. Relocation to Abandoned places of Empire
  2. Sharing Economic resource with fellow community members and the needy among you
  3. Hospitality to the stranger
  4. Lament for racial division within the church and our communities combined with the active pursuit of a just reconciliation
  5. Humble submission to Christ’s body, the church
  6. Intentional formation in the way of Christ and the rule of the community along the lines of the old novitiate
  7. Nurturing common life among members of intentional community
  8. Support for celibate singles alongside monogamous couples
  9. Geographical proximity to community members who share a common rule of life
  10. Care for the plot of god’s earth given to us along with support of our local economies
  11. Peacemaking in the midst of violence and conflict resolution along the lines of Matthew 18
  12. Commitment to a disciplined contemplative life


Practicing our Faith, Dorothy Bass

  1. Honoring the Body
  2. Hospitality
  3. Household Economics
  4. Saying Yes and Saying No
  5. Keeping Sabbath
  6. Testimony
  7. Discernment
  8. Shaping Communities
  9. Forgiveness
  10. Healing
  11. Dying Well
  12. Singing our Lives



What is Accompaniment? Accompaniment is walking in solidarity that is characterized by interdependence and mutuality. We walk with our companions and our companions walk with us in the same way that God through Jesus, with the power of the Holy Spirit, walks with us. It is patterned after the example of Jesus emptying himself to assume our humanity. Because of that relationship, we work together with others.

What do we need to know about accompaniment globally? We are both donors and receivers of gifts from the global community. Each gives according to their own capacities.

What is the biblical foundation of accompaniment? The Emmaus Story found in Luke 24:13-35. My story and your story are connected and included in God’s story.

What are the values of accompaniment? Mutuality, Inclusivity, Vulnerability, Empowerment, and Sustainability.

How do we put accompaniment into action? Resource Sharing, Recognizing Expertise, Storytelling, Network Building, and Decision Making.

How do we form this action? Prayer, Empathy, Asset-Based Thinking, Systems-Based Thinking, Scripture, Hospitality, Reconciliation, Worship, Singing our lives, Lament and Confession, Humility/Empathy, Communal discernment, Relocation, Forgiveness, Peacemaking, Keeping Sabbath, Honoring the body, Consideration of Creation, and Witnessing.



Always be open to discernment through prayer, reading of scripture, resource study, and community conversations. Keep abreast of what is happening in the church: read current books and other literature, ask others what is working and not working, attend conferences and workshops. Commit to a Mission/Vision process. To complete this properly, it may take up to 1 or 2 years. Identify the mission field. Seek out the avenues of possibility; ask those who are involved what they may need; then work towards a common goal. Develop small group ministries. Attend to issues of reconciliation. Have faith!



Emerging contexts of the church and world call us to rethink the questions: “What is mission?” “What is vision?” and “What is church?” The following are resources related to missional theology, leadership and ecclesiology that inform this proposal:

  • The Great Emergence, Phillis Tickle
  • Holy Discontent – Fueling the Fire that Ignites Personal Vision – Bill Hybels (Zonderan)
  • Celtic Evangelism, George Hunter
  • Me, Myself, & Bob – A True Story About Dreams, God, and Talking Vegetables – Phil Vischer
  • A New Christianity , Brian McLaren
  • Irresistible Revolution, Shane Claiborne
  • Keeping the Sabbath Wholly – Ceasing, Resting, Embracing, Feasting – Marva J. Dawn
  • Crossing the Bar – Home by Another Way – James G. Johnson
  • Three Cups of Tea – One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time – Greg Mortensen and David Oliver Relin
  • Toxic Charity – How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It) – Robert D. Lupton
  • Church Morph, Eddie Gibbs
  • Dwelling in the Word – Pat Taylor Ellison and Patrick Keifert
  • From Here to Community. Dick & Judy Reuning (Life Crossings)
  • An Emergent Manifesto of Hope, Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt
  • The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief , Peter Rollins
  • New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier, Tony Jones
  • Discovering Hope. David Poling-Goldene & L. Shannon Jung (Augsburg Fortress)
  • Transforming Mission, David Bosch
  • Changing the Conversation, Anthony Robinson
  • Church in the Round, Letty Russell
  • Making Spiritual Sense, Scott Cormode
  • Welcoming the Stranger, Patrick Keifert
  • Missional Leader, Roxburgh and Romanuk
  • Beyond the Ordinary, Ben Campbell Johnson and Andrew Dreitcer
  • More Ready Than You Realize, Brian McLaren
  • After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity, Miraslov Volf
  • Evangelizing Church: A Lutheran Contribution, Van Gelder and Richard Bliese
  • Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America, ed. Darrell Guder
  • The Continuing Conversion of the Church, Darrell Guder
  • The Good Society, by Bellah, Madsen, Sullivan, Swidler, and Tipton.
  • Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church, Alan Hirsch
  • Practicing Our Faith: A way of life for a searching people, Dorothy Bass
  • Meeting God in the Ruins: Devotions for Disaster Relief Volunteers, ed. Gaede
  • Schools for Conversion: 12 Marks of a New Monasticism, Rutba House and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
  • The Ministry of the Missional Church, Craig Van Gelder