For many of us, the New Year means new goals, resolutions, and visions. It’s a time to reflect on the past twelve months and to plan for the year ahead. Today, we are discussing Andy Stanley’s book Visioneering. It is a great read and an amazing tool to use when creating a vision for 2019.
How Do You Develop a Yearly Vision Without It Becoming Just “Churchy” Hype?
Early on in my ministry, I felt compelled to unveil a new and exciting vision each January. Often times, under the pressure of having to come up with something, I just spouted out a vision without taking the time to plan it thoroughly. That did not do me any favours as a leader and our church suffered because of it.
When a leader prematurely shares a vision, it can cause more harm than good. Things may not go exactly as the leader described or by the deadline that was given. This results in a loss of credibility and trust. Visioneering helped me a lot with the process of creating a vision and not only taught me how to craft a compelling vision, but Stanley also explained the right steps to take and when to release the vision.
I am an idea guy and have no shortage of them floating around my mind. But, there is a big difference between an idea and the proper implementation of that idea. It’s often in the implementation and creation stage of a crazy idea that you begin to craft a compelling vision.
Initially, no idea is perfect, no matter how excited you are about it. You have to push past the first wild idea in order to hopefully unlock something special you can build a vision around.
There are essentially four steps to creating a vision:
Identify a problem you/your team feel called to solve.
Get to work on crafting a consensus solution to that problem. The more passionate you are about solving that problem, the more persistence you will have in crafting your solution - or vision.
Once passionate that the identified problem must be solved, you must ask yourself, “Why me?” or your team, “Why us?” Why are we the ones who should solve this problem?
Ask, “Why now?” Not every vision is for this moment. Some are meant for another time down the road.
Growing in the Vision That God Gave You
It can be easy for us to share visions prematurely. It’s exciting stuff! We can fall into the same trap as Joseph did when he shared his dream with his brothers and fathers. They ended up resenting Joseph for it.
I find that when a vision is shared prematurely, critics speak out with dissent and discouragement. Other times, I have had people excited for the vision but when it doesn’t play out within the initial timeframe, they lose faith in the vision and ultimately me as a leader. You have to be very careful about sharing a vision with the right people at the right time.
Distractions That Threaten Your Vision
There are a multitude of distractions that can easily derail a vision. For me, there are two common ones.
Other opportunities. I tend to get bored easily so I regularly get distracted by something different and “shinier.”
Discouragement. I am naturally impatient so I have a hard time waiting through the process. I want things done now so I am easily discouraged in the process.
Proverbs 29:18 (ASV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint.” This gives us a clear picture of people becoming lost without the focus of a compelling vision. With a vision, people are more focused and become increasingly more effective and powerful as they work together. One is too small a number to achieve greatness; we need to work together under a compelling vision crafted by a “visioneering” leader.
Therefore, pastors and leaders, you need to learn how to work a vision. It might be your most important job as a leader. Without it, your people will perish or lack restraint. And pastors, it is even more important for you to give your people a clear path to follow because Jesus gave us all the most important vision; to go and make disciples and to be the hope of the world, on 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.
Visioneering by Andy Stanley