Issue #36 Establishing and Casting Vision
Leaders must establish and cast vision. If we don’t lead our people with vision, our people will flounder, and our ministries won’t be fruitful. Faithfulness demands that we lead our people into a God honoring future.
Defining Our Terms
Let’s define our terms. What is vision? Vision is simply the portrayal of a future reality hoped for but not yet realized. For example, when I was a lead pastor of a small country congregation, the church hadn’t baptized many people in recent years. I wanted to change that. So, I began dreaming with them of what it would look like for us to get serious about local missions and personal evangelism.
We didn’t have a baptistry. I proposed we buy one and pray that God would save souls. I told them to imagine their grandkids returning to church and getting into the water. Imagine unchurched people being baptized under our roof in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20). Imagine the joy we will feel when we see God’s work taking place right in front of our eyes. I painted a God honoring picture in their minds. That’s vision.
Then I attached a number to that vision, so it wasn’t just an abstract charge. “Let’s baptize people” is a great idea, but it’s not a tangible goal. “Let’s shoot for 10 baptisms next year” is real and palpable. It is something we could actually shoot for.
It also made us ask questions: How are we going to achieve this goal? Well, first we need to purchase a baptistry. If we’re going to ask God for ten baptisms, we need to put our money where our mouth is. Second, we need to train and encourage our people to do personal evangelism. Third, we need to create ministries that are designed to reach people in our community. Finally, we need to create a culture of invitation in our church. We have a vision. We have goals and we real strategies to accomplish our mission.
What Vision Requires
If you’re going to establish and cast vision in your church, you need to do a few things.
Seek the Lord. You’re the leader. You must seek God for the vision He wants for your church. If someone else is casting vision, they’re leader. Not you. Begin to seek the Lord. Try to identify what problems need solved. What areas does your church need to grow in? For us, it was we haven’t baptized but a handful of people in the last 10 years. We need to fix that. What is God drawing your attention to?
Begin to share your vision with key leaders. Get buy in. Don’t be Moses on the mountain and say, “this is what we need to do!” Get others around you who can share your vision and believe it for themselves. This will help you cast it to the rest of the church.
Make people uncomfortable. For me, I wasn’t okay with us not baptizing people and made sure the church knew about it. People won’t go to greener pastures if they’re comfortable where they’re at.
Lead from conviction. Vision is not worldly. This is not based on business practices. This is simply saying, let’s be a faithful church who obeys the Great Commission. Here’s where we are now, and here’s where we want to go.
Celebrate wins along the way. See the goal, map out a tangible way to get there, and celebrate small wins along the way. You won’t scale Everest in one day, but you can celebrate the mile markers along the way.