What's a vision? Is it just a fancy rhetorical catch-phrase or is it a sign of responsible leadership? Or, could it be both? First of all, in the context of organizational (or in this case, congregational) leadership, a vision is an idea, a picture, a dream, a visual plan of what you want your congregation to look like. In other words, a vision is what appears when you allow your thoughts to take to you to grandoise, best-case-scenario places.
Assuming you understand and can agree with that definition - is it simplistic and unnecessary rhetoric or a sign of responsible and cultivation leadership? My opinion, probably a little rhetorical and a lot responsible.
Does your congregation have a vision? If it does, do you talk about it frequently? Do your leaders pray about it? If you don't have a stated and shared vision, why not? Do your Elders not see it as an important part of the growth process? If you don't have a clear picture of how you want your Church to look, then what's the point of what you're doing now? What does it mean if you're not working towards an intended consequence?
Having a solid vision statement is the first of a four step growth plan. Following the vision statement is an explicit plan of mission or purpose. Next come umbrella goals then driver goals.
Here's a common example of not having a clearly defined vision. Some congregations have continued the tradition of having annual or bi-annual gospel meetings. Most do it out of tradition and not because it is part of the growth plan. So as a result, each year the congregations pass around the same few preachers and have (in their own judgment) unsuccessful meetings - which is generally determined by responses and attendance. Why? Mostly because there is not a strategically defined vision - or a comprehensive growth plan. So the Elders go with what they know, what they are comfortable with - which ends up being what they have always done.
When you're not sure how you want the congregation to look, how will you know if you're there?