Remaining Vision-centred in the Face of Criticism and Uncertainty

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Uncertainty is a very real battle when it comes to visioneering. It’s important that we deal with the uncertainty within our hearts before it gets to our followers. Here’s how:

  1. You need to pray. The only healthy and profitable thing to do is to pour out your heart to God. After all, He knows what’s in your heart anyways. As Peter says, “Cast all of your cares on him because he cares for you.”

  2. Refocus on your “why.” Remind yourself what problem you are called to solve and the “must” of solving it.

  3. Look at revising some of your plans. Maybe the uncertainty you are feeling isn’t related to the vision at all, but instead it’s due to the plans not working. Be stubborn with the vision but be flexible with the plans.

Dealing with Criticism

Two things that seem to draw the most criticism are change and gaps. Followers want answers. Critics want blood and get it through calling out the “gaps” in our vision.

My vision definitely has gaps and blind spots. It is always developing and taking shape, therefore, there are a lot of unanswered questions. Most questions pertain to the process of accomplishing the vision and not the “why”. The why remains crystal clear yet the “hows” of completing the vision can get fuzzy.

Along with criticism comes discouragement. When discouragement hits, I do a few things:

  1. I remember that discouragement is simply a lack of courage. Courage somehow slipped out so I have to return to the ultimate source of it - God. I often worship and pray my way through discouragement.

  2. I build the courage within myself by going back to the original vision; the reason I got into this originally; the problem we are trying to solve. I try to keep the “why” white-hot.

  3. I take the time to step aside for a while and recreate myself. Because I know I tend to get discouraged when I’m tired or drained, I work to fill the tank back up.

Sometimes we can get caught in the crosshairs of criticism to the point where we internalize the criticism and can be tempted to give up. I’ve experienced a lot of criticism and unfair criticism still hurts each time. For me, I’ve learned to process criticism better than I have before.

Firstly, I look for the truth in the criticism. Instead of dismissing a critique because it hurts, I try to find any truth in it. What could I have done better? Where could I grow and learn from this as a leader? By doing this, I have learned that I can refocus the criticism into a positive learning experience and grow.

Secondly, instead of becoming cold or dismissive, I allow myself to hurt and remind myself that if I ever stop hurting, I will stop caring for people.

In order to remain vision-centred in the face of criticism, ask yourself, “Who am I doing this for?” Is it all for yourself? If so, your vision is too small. If you are doing it for God, then it is His opinion that matters most.

When I am discouraged because of criticism, I consider the source. Are my critics the ones I am trying to reach? If so, I need to listen and adjust my plans. If they aren’t, I need to centre on God and make sure He and I are ok.

How do we revise plans without compromising the vision?

Be stubborn with the vision but flexible with the plans. Sometimes, the people you are leading aren’t ready for the plans you are implementing so you have to adjust and work with where they are at.

If your vision is right, don’t change it; just be flexible with the pace of implementation. In those times, I focus on growing the team. Grow the people to meet the size of your vision or it will never become a reality.

When it comes to church, the methods that worked yesterday will not necessarily work today. What works in Lethbridge may not work in your city. So, the plans must be flexible. The message is sacred but the methods are not. Why? Because people’s eternities are at stake and the church is the hope of the world, given a mission to reach every available person, at every available time, by every available means, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by creating churches unchurched people love to attend.


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