Implementing A Fresh Vision

Church would be easier if we could just get up and preach on whatever we felt led to do and didn’t have to worry about leading people, budgets, buildings, and staff.

Have you ever had that thought?

I have. I don’t think that way anymore.

I’m thankful for the time I served in seminary. It sounds like a prison statement when I write it that way. It wasn’t a prison sentence. It was amazing. But seminary didn’t prep me for leading people.

As much as I’d love to simply preach about whatever God has put on my heart I also care deeply about helping people grow.

Unless there is a measurable target you’ll never be able to see where you have actually led people to.

At times Christians want to push back on leadership because it comes across as unspiritual.

There is nothing unspiritual about leadership. It’s one of the gifts of the spirit.

“If it is to lead, do it diligently.” Romans 12:6

If you feel more comfortable we can call it shepherding. A shepherd has to have some type of plan in place or the sheep will not get to their final destination.

Often times, us pastors, call ourselves shepherds but we put little thought to where we are leading people. That is incredibly dangerous.

“Where there is no vision the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18

In the next year where is it that you’d like to take the people God has entrusted you to? If you wander for too long in the wilderness without a vision the people will want to go back to slavery in Egypt.

We are trying to lead people to the promise land. Sure, it’s very different than Moses literally leading the Israelites to the promise land, but the response of people is no different. Humans are hard to move. But if we don’t lead, people will naturally want to go to unhealthy places. Why?

Because sometimes it’s easier to return to the comfort of slavery than walk toward the uncertainty of freedom.

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Leadership is simply leading people to where they wouldn’t go on their own.

As the leader you are responsible for taking your people somewhere. Where is it that God is leading you to take the people He has entrusted you with?

That’s not an easy answer to come by. It takes some intentional time. It takes prayer, time in the Bible, and listening to God.

Once a vision is established it will energize you, stir you, keep you awake with passion. There is unprecedented power that is unleashed when:

  • The Pastor is focused.
  • The Leadership team is aligned.
  • The Volunteers are clear.
  • The Congregation owns it.

A vision is powerful. It’s the destination you are leading towards.

But the vision is more than a statement. It has to be more than that. Often when you ask pastors about their vision they will say a vision statement that is part Great Commission and Part Great Commandment. What is often given as a vision is really a mission.

The mission answers why you exist. The vision answers where you are going in light of why you exist.

Churches often have vision statements, but in reality they have no vision.

A vision has to be measurable and attainable.

Building a church a new building is a vision.

Adding 40 people to small groups is a vision.

Every member investing in one unchurched person is a vision.

Planting a new church is a vision.

The vision changes once you get there. Once you lead the people to the promise land the vision can no longer be, “Get to the promise land.” Once you get to where you are going you develop a new vision based off what where you feel God is leading you to next.

What so often becomes confusing is that pastors don’t have a vision so they borrow God’s plan for another pastor. We read a book, or go to a conference and get inspired by someone’s vision from God. We then rush into our church and cast this vision to anyone who will listen. We end up trying to take people to a home that God isn’t leading them to.

To develop a vision from God you must think about the end first. Where are you wanting to go? Where is the destination? Where are you headed?

As shepherds we have to statically do this often.

What got us to our current destination is not what will get us to the next one.

The vision changes based off where you are going.

Once you establish the vision then you create the system to get there.

God is a God of order. When God created the entire universe He put into a solar system. To just wing it is laziness disguised as spiritual discernment.

A good shepherd has a plan. A plan is a system that you repeat. Once you have a vision the fun begins. When you develop a system it helps unify the team around the vision. Gives clarity to how the vision is going to be fulfilled, and makes sure the vision doesn’t get forgotten.

“Your systems are perfectly designed to get you the results you are getting.” – Chris Sonksen.

Now, I am full of vision and inspiration. What I am not great at is the systems. Thankfully I have a great team of people that fill in where I’m weak.

The vision I cast for 2017 was to baptize 30 people. As a church plant we have baptized double digits of people every year except for in 2016. In 2016 we baptized 4. As a five year old church plant that no longer feels like a church plant our people were comfortable.

I felt God was leading us to invest in people who do not go to church well. One way to push against an insider mindset is to invest in the unchurched. One way to measure the true impact is baptism.

I cast the vision, but then did little else. My amazing Office Manager helped create a system to help us  keep baptism in front of our people. We created a visual in our lobby that has 30 places for pictures of the people that get baptized. My Office Manager mapped out the amount of baptisms we needed spread out throughout the year to realistically hit our goal.

Through the month of October we have baptized 16 people. Now, there is a great chance we won’t hit the goal of 30 people, but the vision took us from 4 people in 2016 to 16 so far in 2017. The year is not up and we have two more baptisms scheduled. The vision was a big hairy audacious goal.

The point is to lead people you need to cast a vision that points toward the direction God wants you to go. Because you are constantly seeking after God He will continually keep the vision fresh. Until you are dead there is always a place to lead people to.

Spend time with God to get a fresh vision. The vision should be specific and measurable. Develop a system (plan that you repeat) to get to the destination you feel God wants you at.

What do you see?

When have you been a part of a vision from God? What questions do you have for us about vision?

 

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