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Andrew Estes - The Clarity Project

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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Estes

What is the Vision Frame?

Updated: Oct 7, 2023

Introducing the Stage for The Vision Frame

Finding your way forward can be an exhilarating but daunting journey in the dynamic world of church leadership. If that's you and your church, hear me when I say you are not alone! Every week, I hear from leaders who, though inundated with an insurmountable amount of resources, still struggle to discern where God is leading their church.


One powerful tool has been transforming the way churches chart their course for a generation is the Vision Frame. Imagine your church, guided by a clear, compelling vision that touches every aspect of your ministry, igniting hearts and changing lives. That's the promise of the Vision Frame, and it's changing the game for 1 in 5 churches nationwide.


First introduced in the groundbreaking book "Church Unique" by Will Mancini, the Vision Frame isn't just a trend; it's a revolutionary approach to church leadership. This journey breathes life into your church's mission, adapts to the ever-shifting cultural landscape, and clarifies your leadership. Whether you're a seasoned pastor seeking a renewed season of ministry or a young leader charting your church's path, the Vision Frame is your portal to God's dream for your church.


The History of The Vision Frame

In 2008, the Church Unique book and the visionary process were released to help leaders stop photocopying vision. In 2016, God Dreams was released as an updated version of the journey to help leaders dream about long-range Kingdom impact. In God's timing, the book Future Church emerged in 2020 as a paradigm-shifting prequel to Church Unique and God Dreams. The Future Church Funnel Fusion process helps church leaders infuse deep disciple-making principles and practices into the heart of the vision and culture. Also released in 2020, Younique captures the Gospel-centered life design process to help every believer know and name their unique calling.


So, let me give you a brief overview of what The Vision Frame is and how it can serve your church!


The Vision Frame Overview

The Five Irreducible Questions of Leadership

*Adapted from Vision Frame Cheat Sheet from WillMancini.com

An overview of The Vision Frame, Will Mancini. Mission, Values, Strategy, Measures, Vision Proper-God Dreams.
Vision Frame Overview


Mission– the What

Mission Defined
Vision Frame Mission

The mission is the guiding compass of the church.The mission answers the question, “What are we ultimately supposed to be doing?” It makes the overall direction of the church unquestionable and points everyone in that direction.The mission is also like a golden thread that weaves through every activity of the church. Therefore, it brings greater meaning to the most menial functions of ministry. The mission is the gateway to all clarity. It's the first place someone "walks into the Upper Room." If we don't get Mission, we don't get anything on the Vision Frame.

The average guy, Joe, will encounter the mission first by hearing it everywhere by many different people. So we say that mission is “what Joe hears” at the church.


Values– the Why

Values Defined
Vision Frame Values

Values are the motivational flame of the church. They are the shared convictions that guide your actions and reveal your strengths. Values answer, "Why do we do what we do at our church?" They are springboards for daily action and filters for decision-making. Values represent the conscience of the organization. They distinguish your philosophy of ministry and shape your culture and ethos. When values are working, the family knows the "house rules," and a leader ought not fret that everyone is not a fit, especially elders, board, or staff.

While values are a leadership tool like the mission, they are not expressed verbally everywhere and all the time. Therefore, people coming to church will encounter an atmosphere that is shaped by values before they hear the values themselves. Ideally, values will define the experience for an attendee before they are a conscious thought. Values are "what Joe feels" at the church.


Strategy– the How

Strategy Defined
Vision Frame Strategy

The picture or process that demonstrates how the church will accomplish its mission on the broadest level. Strategy answers the question, "How do we do what we do?" It is a flashlight that shows people clear next steps. It sets involvement expectations.

The strategy is like a container that holds all of your church activities into one meaningful whole. Without this picture, individuals within the church will forget how each component fits into the mission. They will be lost in a programmatic soup of good but random activity. Because churches are over-programmed and under-discipled, a strategy without measures is worthless.

Think of strategy as a pattern of participation. It reveals places and rhythms of being involved. It is the church's operational logic. It shows how every major environment (time and place at church) is part of a discipleship pathway. Strategy is the missional map or "where Joe goes" at the church. Thinks steps, not programs.

Mission Measures– the When (Win)

Mission Measures Defined
Vision Frame Measures Outcomes

Mission measures are the attributes of an individual's life that reflect the achievement of the mission. The measures answer the question, "When are we successful?" What does your dream disciple look like? Measures are visualized as hitting the bull's eye. Ideally, everything in the church is designed around hitting the same target of growing to become more like Jesus. The mission measures are also called missional life-marks. They are your church's portrait of a disciple. It provides the standard by which the mission can be measured with respect to an individual's development over time through the church. Therefore, measures inform the scope of all content. Can you connect "teaching people to obey all that Christ commanded" to your measures?

All volunteer leaders should know the measures because all teaching and training at all levels are designed to shape the life outcomes for which the church exists. Measures are "what Joe becomes" at the church.

Vision Proper– the Where

Vision Proper Defined
Vision Frame Vision Proper God Dreams

The living language that anticipates and illustrates God's better future for the church. Think of Vision Proper as the Missional Mountaintop & Milestones. It answers the "wow" question —"Where is God taking us?" The vision is a God–inspired dream. It is like a developing Polaroid picture of the church's preferred future. It develops first in the leadership's mind and then in the people. Vision is made possible by imagination fueled by faith, hope, and love. It is the unique fingerprint of every local church community and can change over time and your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God over the next several years.


You don't need a vision statement; you need a visionary state of mind articulated in the Horizon Storyline tool. The God Dreams tools and process further develop Vision Proper as a robust visionary planning tool that delivers the right amount of vision content at the right amount of time in the future for the entire vision team. The Vision Proper is "what Joe sees" for the church's future.


Vision Changes Everything

Vision isn't everything, but it does change everything. Understanding and articulating your answer to the five irreducible questions of leadership isn't easy. It's a journey. It requires disciplined persistence as you and your team delve into the heart of your church and the heart of the Gospel! It doesn't happen overnight. After all, there's no breakthrough in the drive-thru. But you and your leaders can walk the vision journey together to know your disciple-making identity and direction as a church.


If your team could use a trusted and experienced guide to develop the vision of your church, schedule a call! I would love to help!


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