We’ve been on a journey of discernment and discovery over the last year as a congregation. The process has been overwhelmingly positive, and we have committed to expanding our local missions and focusing on building meaningful relationships. As part of the final stages of our planning process we returned to a question from the beginning of our journey, “How has God called us to make a difference in the world?” 

In order to help as many people as possible participate in this process, we recorded our special session on Monday, February 27th. Below you will find the recorded presentation, handouts, additional resources, and information about next steps. To get the full digital experience, begin by downloading the presentation and handout. The video is approximately 80 minutes in length.

Our strategic planning process is about active listening and good conversations. It’s a journey of discernment that we’re on together. So be sure to talk with a friend about what you’ve learned, discuss interesting findings with your Sunday School class and share with Pastor Austin ways you are feeling called to get involved. 

Lead With Why Presentation

To download Pastor Austin’s presentation, click here.

To download the Outcomes Chart handout, click here.

To read Grameen Bank’s 10 Indicators, click here.

Key Findings

  • Impactful churches are able to clearly and succinctly communicate why they exist and why that matters to their community.
  • People join a church because they are inspired by the “why” (mission), not because they like what you do (programs).
  • Low-impact churches focus on counting resources (how many, how often, how much). High-impact churches focus on measuring the difference made in people’s lives (outcome and goal driven).

Questions to Consider

  1. How was your experience completing the Outcomes Chart? Was it easy or hard? What possible outcomes excited you the most?
  2. What would be different about our church if we lead with our why and focused on measuring the difference made in people’s lives?

Additional Resources


Doing the Math of Mission: Fruits, Faithfulness, and Metrics by Gil Rendle

Growing an Engaged Church: How to Stop “Doing Church” and Start Being the Church Again by Albert Winseman



Facts on Church Growth (2010)

United Methodist Church’s “Call to Action” report on vital churches

What to Measure If You’re Mission Driven by Zachary First

Metrics of Success in Art Museums by Maxwell Anderson



 “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek [Full Version]


Where We’ve Been on This Journey

Prayer Groups Celebration Banquet

Serving Our Community Church-wide Retreat

Celebrating Missions Banquet

Next Steps

  1. The Strategic Plan Coordinating Team will reflect on the responses from our special session on the differences we want to make in the lives of individuals and the community.
  2. The Coordinating Team will bring a draft plan that will include a statement of our “why,” primary objectives/outcomes, and related goals to Church Council and the Diaconate for feedback and approval.
  3. The congregation will review and approve a Strategic Plan for VBC.
  4. On Saturday, April 22nd at VBC, church leadership will develop an implementation plan for the first year of our strategic plan.
  5. In May and June, a budget that reflects the new missional priorities and objectives will be developed and passed.