1. What is a mission and vision? A mission statement tells the world why you exist and what your purposes are. Think of your vision document as you and your team fleshing out in great detail what every facet of your ministry will look like in 5 years. Does this sound exciting? Didn’t think so. Creating these documents is a long, boring, and tedious task, but it is very likely the most important thing you will ever do. Just as a degree completion plan sets the parameters for coursework that leads to a degree, and blueprints provide the plans for a solid home, a vision will guide your planning and programming, your curriculum and even the way you recruit volunteers. 2. Determine where you are at NOW – If your team has created a vision for where you want your ministry to go in the future the next essential is to give your ministry an honest evaluation of where it stands at the present. Look at each of those “dream” principles or characteristics in your vision and begin to evaluate how far you are from making that goal a reality. For example, if it is in your vision to use a short-term mission trip to create relational and spiritual growth you must evaluate how far you are from achieving this goal. If you want a ministry of small groups you must determine how far you are from that goal. Do this step for every “vision” category i.e. volunteers, curriculum, programming, community service. 3. Bridge the gap – Things get more exciting in this final step when youth leaders take the gaps noted in step two and begin working towards their vision with tactical steps and processes. This can be an exciting but scary process. Using the example above, you may discover that an old minimally effective event stands between you and your mission trip. Unfortunately you can’t do both due to budget concerns and volunteer burn out but a solid well thought out vision gives you the confidence to scrap the event and begin planning for that life changing mission trip. In this final step it is important to devise the plans for moving away from the things you are doing that don’t fit your vision, and moving towards the events or activities that are more in line with the goals of your team.