Sounds simple, but a clear understanding of one’s identity is critical. A business has to know if it makes shoes or bakes bread. A church has to know if it honors Christ or not. Identity leads to the next item in the game plan.
Purpose is the fulfilment of one’s identity. If it is a show or bread company, they will produce those products.
Vision grows out of identity and purpose. Vision is the view for the future. Businesses ask how they can better produce their product, publicize their company, and market their product. Churches may envision reaching a particular neighborhood or segment of the population with the Gospel. Vision is where you see your self in one, five or ten years.
Function simply means the company or church is now doing what it’s identity, purpose and vision leads them to. For a church, it would be preaching, teaching, leading others to Christ and maturing them in faith. For a business, it might be producing a product or shipping someone else’s product.
How does this apply to home dynamics? Businesses or churches can slip into daily routines and habits and never answer the larger questions of who are we? Why do we do what we do? What is our vision for the future? And what is the best way for us to do that?
Families can avoid those questions, too. Family life can become a series of routines: going to school, rushing to school and athletic functions, going to work, watching tv in the evening, going to church on Sunday. But where is the family heading to? What is the family becoming?
It is healthy for mom and dad to have some definite objectives for all their activity and function. A long drive to a ball game can become a meaningful event if the parents include some heart-felt discussion of an important spiritual or moral issue; church can become an opportunity for genuine spiritual revival and spiritual growth; school can become a conscious stepping-stone to advanced study or career preparation.
With definite identity, purpose, vision and function, families can become more than just harried robotans rushing, rushing, rushing, without any sense of cohesion or underlying purpose. They can become a unified whole moving toward something worthwhile, such as a closer-knit family, a place where Jesus is honored, and a community preparing for heaven.
Family can wander around in uncertainty and indirection, or it can march toward higher levels of relationship and function. The difference is often in the game plan we follow.