Vision. This is a black-hole subject. What I mean by that is it’ll suck you in and you probably won’t find the end of it. There have been oodles (yes, oodles) of books written and talks given on vision. Some agree on some things. Most disagree on most things. So know that whatever is written in this article/series is just miniscule scrapings off of greater works.
If you haven’t explored the idea of vision, a great place to start is Visioneering*
by Andy Stanley. Here’s a 4-part nugget from Andy about what vision will do for us and our teams:
1. Vision stokes passion. A clear picture of a desirable future should stir our blood. Andy states that “a clear, focused vision actually allow us to experience ahead of time the emotions associated with our anticipated future.”
2. Vision provides motivation. An illustration from my own life: I’m getting up just before 5am five to six days a week. I have a vision to develop resources that help churches and worship teams. But I also want a strong family and a great worship ministry at my church. Those three visions together motivate me to get up before the rest of my family and work on my WorshipTeamCoach.com stuff. I can tell you that nothing else in my life has ever persuaded me to get up at 5am for more than a month (which is how long my breakfast-cook food-service position lasted during college. The vision of $4.75/hr to scramble 10 dozen eggs and over-cook oatmeal was less of a motivator).
3. Vision gives direction. While vision won’t give us the step by step path, it gives us a direction to move. It helps us decide which steps to take: does this move us closer to our vision? If yes, then let’s make the step. If the answer is no, then don’t. Unfortunately, not every decision is that simple – but running each decision against the vision will increase the odds that we say yes to the right ones.
4. Vision translates into purpose. Stanley says this – “A vision makes you an important link between current reality and the future.” In other words, your ministry won’t get there without you. And if you’re team starts to embrace the vision, suddenly, they have new found sense of purpose.**
Before we go further, it’s worth noting what vision won’t do:
1. It very often won’t come true–at least not in the way you think it will. Think about the Joseph’s adolescent dreams of ruling over his father, mother and brothers. He couldn’t have imagined that it would involve becoming second-in-command of a neighboring superpower.
2. It won’t spell-out the specific path. If Joseph didn’t have any idea of how he would rule over his family, then he was completely in the dark about what it would take to get there: betrayal by his brothers led to getting hocked to some Ishmaelites who sold him to Potiphar whose wife seduced him–then framed him–which led to accommodations at an Egyptian prison while being forgotten for two years by his only chance of release. Had he known a fraction of that path, he woulda’ kept his mouth shut.
Joseph isn’t an example of setting an intentional vision, but he’s a good reminder that God rarely allows the straight, easy path. And the journey to the vision is part of his process of shaping us. So when need to keep those two Joseph-lessons in mind as we develop and articulate the vision we think God is leading us towards.
Any great stories of casting vision and how it turned out? Successful, or not so much?
What are some things you’re saying NO to because of vision?
Note: this piece on vision is part of a larger work I’m developing for a seminar/resource called Small Church/Big Worship. It also includes the 3 posts I wrote about current reality. I’m going to continue the discussion of vision over at my own blog. It’ll be easier to get into the nuts & bolts of practical application over there and keep me free here to make fun of ADHD guitar players and people who quit worship team. Hopefully I’ll see you both places.
**Visioneering, Andy Stanley, Multanomah, pp. 9-12