Back when my first child, Dawson, was born my wife worked at an office a couple of hours each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. One Tuesday when he was a few months old, Dawson had what we call a “blowout.” To make sure we have a common definition: A blowout is when a baby goes “number two” with such volume and force that his or her diaper cannot contain it. Dawson had a blowout and I thought, “I can handle this.” So I removed his diaper and cleaned him. The tricky part is getting the clothes (which have number two on them) over his head, without any getting on his head. I was working on that when suddenly Dawson starting going “number one” – but I hadn’t put a diaper on him! I didn’t know what to do, so I cupped my hands and caught it, but pretty soon my hands were full and it was getting all over my clothes. About two minutes later I called my wife. I said, “Okay, here’s the situation. I’m in my underwear. Your son is naked. There is number one and number two everywhere. What should I do?!” She said, “Do you want me to come home?” I thought, “Of course I want you to come home!” But I said, “No, I can do this. Just tell me: What should I do first?”
I started working with Auxano a few months ago, and the primary deliverable when you receive Auxano coaching is a vision frame. The vision frame is a brilliant tool. It’s deceptively brilliant, because it seems obvious. But it’s obviously not obvious, because it is rare to find a church that has absolute clarity on their mission, values, strategy, measures, and how all of that comes together in a kingdom concept. It’s even more difficult to find a church that’s actually living out those concepts in a real and effective way.
Part of the genius of the vision frame is that it’s comprehensive. You can find a book or a seminar or consultant who helps you with your vision, or values, or strategy, but the vision frame drives you to clarity on the indispensable issues of mission, values, strategy, and measures.
And while I’ve learned it’s essential to cover all four of those topics, what’s equally critical is where you start. You start with mission. You start by answering Question Zero. Why do we exist? Everything is important, but mission trumps everything. And we need to focus first (initially when we put together our vision frame, and then every day that follows) on the mission Jesus gave us. If we don’t, if instead we become obsessed with what and how, we’ll lose that necessary obsession with why.
And so we answer question zero first. And when we do that, not only does it help us to stay focused on the mission and continue going in the right direction, there are also a host of other advantages.