Envisioning Churches

Envisioning and equipping church leaders to lead their congregations and denominations in integral mission is the first step to bring about whole-life change in their church and community. The first step in the process of church and community transformation is to envision churches with God’s vision of a transformed community (Isaiah 65) and to show God's purpose for the church in partnering with him to realise this vision of whole-life transformation.


Once the church and its leadership are envisioned for integral mission, they should naturally want to act and respond to the needs of the communities around them. How the church and community respond to the needs identified will vary. Churches and communities will identify and prioritise their needs and then together they will search for solutions that are appropriate to their contexts, seeking technical help where needed. Responses may include:

  • establishing self-help groups, 
  • improving infrastructure, 
  • advocating for improvement of or access to services or changes to unjust laws, 
  • projects to improve livelihoods.
Engaging Church Leadership

Church leadership is important. Church leaders can either enable or prevent the process of mobilising their church. When envisioned the Church leaders can release their congregation’s potential so the Body can minister to one another and to the community. Church leaders are often respected within their communities and have the potential for great influence. They often act as role models within their communities. Working together with other church leaders in the community can be one way of displaying unity and love. The strength of church denominations and local church congregations is greatly affected by the strength of the leadership. For example, it is difficult to change a church’s attitudes to issues like HIV and gender unless the leaders themselves are committed to such change.

Working with denominations

The process of envisioning can be applied to a single church, a group of churches or a whole denomination. The latter requires a slightly different approach as it will involve significant organisational change that re-orientates its vision and structure around integral mission. This empowers each local church congregation within the denomination to take action to address community needs. Working through whole denominations allows for a large number of churches to be mobilised quickly where there is strong support and buy-in from senior denominational leaders.

resources on envisioning the church

Envisioning for integral mission
Tearfund understands integral mission as living out our faith in all areas of life. ‘Envisioning’ refers to a shift in mindset from a theology that separates evangelism and social action to a holistic, or integral, theology. This guide offers insight, experience and good practice for those envisioning people for integral mission.

CCMP manual bible studies (PDF 357 KB)
These Bible studies on integral mission from the CCMP manual (PDF 6 MB) can also be used more widely to envision people and churches for integral mission.
This resource is also available in French (PDF 346 KB)

CCMP participant's booklet for Stage 1 (PDF 416 KB)
A booklet for church members participating in the church and community mobilisation process (CCMP) Stage 1: Awakening the church. This booklet contains an overview of CCMP including the five stages and the pillars, as well as all the Bible study questions and activities included in Stage 1.

A guide to building relationships with senior church leaders (PDF 33 KB)
This is a helpful guide on how to engage with senior church leaders in order to win their support for working with other church leaders within their denomination or network on integral mission issues.

Roots 11: Partnering with the local church (PDF 700 KB)
This report presents key findings of a baseline survey undertaken across 15 communities in Ituri Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo about faith, gender norms and SGBV in conflict-affected communities.
This resource is also available in French (PDF 797 KB), Spanish (PDF 977 KB), Portuguese (PDF 716 KB), Arabic (PDF 2.1 MB) Bangla (PDF 10.4 MB) and Russian (PDF 1.3 MB).

Mobilising whole denominations 

A guide to mobilising whole denominations through organisational change (PDF 32 KB)
This is a useful guidance note on the process of leading organisational change in whole denominations.

Strengths and weaknesses of mobilising whole denominations through organisational change (PDF 42 KB)
This guidance note describes some of the strengths and weaknesses of the process of organisational change in whole denominations.

Creating Space for Grace (PDF 874 KB) by Rick James.
This short book that explores a faith-based approach to organisational change.

Case studies

Case study: Mobilising a whole denomination in Ethiopia (PDF 44 KB)
Case study: Training local church leaders in strategic planning in Ethiopia (PDF 60 KB)
Case study: Running an integral mission workshop for alumni of a theological college (PDF 34 KB)

Bible Studies on Leadership

A biblical model of leadership (PDF 75 KB)
Servant leadership (PDF 78 KB)
Developing leadership skills (PDF 69 KB)
Qualities of church leaders (PDF 31 KB)
God’s choice of leaders (PDF 31 KB)
Support for leaders (PDF 32 KB)