Even though congregational vision involves the long view during the first generation, it must still be reconceptualized thereafter at least every seven years or it starts dying.
The best congregations hardwire into their culture that once they are past their first generation they recast, renew, and re-own God’s empowering vision for them every seven years. These are congregations who soar with faith decade after decade. They are the kind of congregations Robert Dale discusses in his book on Cultivating Perennial Churches: Your Guide to Long-Term Growth (Chalice Press 2008)
This is something congregations must own deeply. Pastors and staff transition in and out of the congregations. A key piece of congregational culture that should supersede the tenure of pastors and staff is the commitment to reconceptualize vision on a regular schedule.
The failure to reconceptualize vision can lead to a slow death march for congregations. It appears many one-generation congregations die before their 80th anniversary. Some die quicker because their context and membership transition more quickly.
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