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Saturday, October 1, 2011

imagine/Northampton's Visionation Meeting, September 9, 2011


The Vision/Strategic Mission:

REMINDER: Vision answers the question: Where do we believe  God wants us to go in the weeks, months and years ahead? It is dynamic and expresses what matters deeply to God and us, where we have persistent passion, and inspires our dedicated action. Implicit in vision is the question “what if we could…?”, and will only happen if God makes a way.
1. VISION: To build Kingdom-focused communities where we: creatively engage the culture to help people discover and follow the God who is far more than they imagine.

What is a Kingdom-focused community?

It’s a community where the reign, authority and values of Christ are embraced, modeled and lived. Characteristic of Kingdom-focused community is love for God, one another and people who don’t know him, especially the poor, oppressed, abandoned and abused. Such a community is not merely inward-focused, but outward-active. We love God and care for one another, but equally, we love our neighbors whether they share our beliefs or not. A Kingdom-focused community is a community of missional servants, persistently following Jesus in his redemptive Gospel mission of healing, freeing, hope and salvation. Humility, sacrifice, generosity, joy and celebration should characterize such community.  

What do we mean by “creatively engage the culture?” 

We mean always looking together for fresh and distinctive ways of opening people to the reality of Jesus, his Kingdom and Gospel. We do so on their terms, but we also need to be students of what matters to people in Northampton (it’s “tribes” culture, ethos and worldview), and then work to creatively express truth in a winsome or compelling way. We may do it artistically, or through service, celebrations, collaboration, a business venture, or just making friends. Creativity is part of the DNA of our mission, no matter it's particular expression.

What do we mean by helping “people discover and follow the God who is far more than they imagine?

It’s the heart of imagine/Northampton’s understanding of itself, whether we are building up each other in discovering and knowing Jesus so we follow him more unreservedly, or we are engaging people who've not yet discovered him. Our vision is to do whatever it takes, by his grace, to help anyone find and follow him. Relationships are key, but so is being a gracious, generous, thoughtful and helpful servant people who use actions as much or more than works, such that people move beyond their suppositions and barriers to know him in ways they never thought possible.


REMINDER: Strategic Mission answers the question: What can we do to most effectively get there? It is about focused purpose and concrete action to realize the vision to which God has summoned us together. In other words, where do we best give our time, gifts, resources and work to accomplish the vision on our watch? So, we see our strategic mission as follows: 

  • To continue individually and as families building relationships with other (on street, in neighborhoods, the workplace, school, community projects, etc.)
  • To continue developing imagine/Northampton as a Kingdom-focused community (Teaching, worshiping, doing things together, sharing missional storie to encourage and motivate each other, etc.)
  • To grow in creatively engaging Northampton together. 
  • To plant imagine churches in other communities: for instance, imagine/Brattleboro,  imagine/Keene, imagine/Pittsfield, imagine/Portsmouth, imagine/Greenfield or  Northfield in the next 3-5 years.

  • Spiritual Formation - healing, intimacy with and love for God, becoming more like Christ, spiritual disciplines.
  • Developing a culture of creativity, artistically and otherwise.
  • Teaching: Scriptures and way of life.
  • Missional Formation, mindset, and way of life.
  • Welcoming Community – commitment to helping people feel loved and a part of imagine.

Underlying Assumption: While we do not have a formal membership protocol, we as leaders assume that for folks who choose to become part our community will strive to own, support, and live the vision/strategic mission of imagine/Northampton. We are to follow together. We are a team with a common vision: each of us now called and those who will be called in the future, have a distinct role to play in seeing it realized with God’s grace and help. While we’ll never be heavy-handed about this assumption, given the fact people need time to orient, heal, and grow, the assumption remains and guides our expectations.  (Communitas)
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