It’s rare to visit a church, read its mission statement and then conclude, “What a great match!” For that to happen, the church’s vision must be clear, appealing, and most important, truly reflective of the unique culture demonstrated by the church.
Back in 1992, when churches were just beginning to think about vision statements, George Barna wrote a highly popular book called Power of Vision. In it he defined vision as “a clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God.”
I predict Will Mancini’s Church Unique (2008, 271 pages) will succeed Barna’s classic as the go-to book for church leadership discussions because it does even more than help you articulate a vision for your church. It goes further. It helps you “cast vision, capture culture, and create movement,” as the subtitle forecasts. The book affirms that your church is “stunningly unique,” and then helps you turn your church’s one-of-a-kind potential into a model of ministry that leads to a redemptive movement. It understands that each church models a culture reflective of its particular values, thoughts, attitudes and actions. Using numerous specific-church examples, it walks you through the process of vision focus and alignment within the context of your church’s unique culture.
Mancini, a former pastor and now church consultant, also explores pitfalls that often trap churches, such as adopting the latest conference technique or following a Band-aid approach to addressing deep-set issues.
CHURCH UNIQUE will benefit any type of church leader, whether megachurch or church plant, mainline or non-denominational.
The book is release #25 in Leadership Network’s series with Jossey-Bass. It references in several places another excellent Leadership Network book — Culture Shift by Robert Lewis and Wayne Cordeiro with Warren Bird (Jossey-Bass, 2005).
Warren Bird, Ph.D., is Research Director at Leadership Network, and co-author of 19 books on various aspects of church health and innovation.