And then I stopped in my tracks. Why? This would easily put the cart in front of the horse!
First things first
A lead pastor desperately needs a God-sized vision to overwhelm him. In other words, this guy doesn't have a vision for his church, God's vision for the guy's church has completely captivated him!
What does a God-sized vision look like? It's well beyond what any lead pastor can do under his own power; it equips and releases his church's members to be the church; it does not elevate his pulpit ministry but harnesses it for empowering others; it cannot be achieved without God doing some very supernatural things at the beginning, the middle, and the end, and the list goes on and on.
Vision vs. Mission Statements
Don't confuse the two. You need both, but they're very different. Vision is what God has called your church members to be in this world. It's not so much of a destination, but achieving a sustainable condition of health.
So your God-sized vision is what your incredibly healthy church's members will be doing with their time and gifts and skills and the outcome. It's squarely something that God will give you for your church if you petition him for it... just don't go any further after you've received it, which is human nature. Read on to catch what I'm saying here.
Your mission is how you're going to achieve the vision. Pastors often receive a way-cool vision from God for their church and them promptly outline a plan of action (mission) to achieve the vision and guess what? This is the beginning of the end or where the failure is born. Can you guess why the mission is doomed?
God gives vision to lead pastors, but expects them to employ others when it comes to creating a missional direction and speed and the vehicle to achieve it.
While people love to follow someone with a bigger-than-life vision, they do not follow sacrificially if they had no decision in how the vision is to be accomplished.
So, take a good look at your church's vision statement. Is it really a mission statement with lots of goals outlined for the year, or is it a state of health that naturally produces more and more fully devoted followers of Christ?
Once you get a God-sized vision for your church, and then a team of leaders to develop a mission to achieve it, your small group or cell group strategy will be crystal clear. Groups are part of the mission and part of the vision. Groups have a place in each one and should be a strong feature of each one, but not just one or the other.