A Picture of Vision

The other day, as I was boarding an early morning flight out of Hobby Airport in Houston, I looked out the window and had a great view of the early morning sun shimmering on the downtown skyline. It was beautiful. Here’s the picture.

 

Now I’m guessing that you’re not rushing to book a trip to Houston based on this picture. You’re probably even wondering why I posted it. The reason is that it tells us a lot about vision.

  1. The vision is often much more clear to the visionary than to others. My picture doesn’t convey what I witnessed. In the same way, many visionary leaders get very excited about the vision that God has given them, but others don’t grasp it. People need to have a meaningful, tangible experience with the vision, not just hear you talk about it. What are you doing to help others to see, taste, and touch the vision that God has for your congregation?
  2. Visionaries often don’t see the obstacles. When I first glanced out the window at Hobby, I didn’t even notice all the clutter in the foreground. Once I took the picture, it was much more obvious. Some visionary leaders never have that experience – they see the ultimate goal very clearly, but they completely overlook the more immediate things that stand in the way. Who in your life lovingly helps you identify the barriers to the vision?
  3. Those who see the obstacles can kill a vision. It’s obvious that I can’t cut across the tarmac to get to the distant skyline, but that doesn’t mean that getting there is impossible. We’ve all known people who immediately list all the reasons that something can’t be done. It’s important to think about the “how” questions, because these help translate the vision into meaningful steps and identify issues to be addressed. If you are that detail-oriented person, do you use your strengths in positive, helpful ways?

 

What does your vision picture look like? Which of these three areas do you need to work on?

Download PDF

Tags: ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Bonem

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

My Love-Hate Relationship with Church Vision

For over 20 years, I have been a big advocate of the need for churches and ministries to get clear about the vision that God is leading them to. I still think that a clear, shared, compelling vision is important and powerful, and yet …

I have seen many churches with wonderful vision statements and no forward momentum. I have talked to pastors and laypeople who are jaded about visions and visioning processes. What’s the problem? Isn’t a vision supposed to supply the direction and energy that lead to positive results? Here are four common vision-related diseases that afflict many churches and ministries:

  • It’s not their vision. Vision statements may not seem unique, but the meaning behind them should be specific to the church and its context. If a congregation decides to copy someone else’s vision, they are unlikely to see much impact. Likewise, if the core leadership team doesn’t have a high level of ownership in the vision, it will lack traction. There are a variety of ways to achieve this, but there are no shortcuts to creating a meaningful vision with high commitment.
  • It’s not God’s vision. The church belongs to God, not us, so we should be seeking the owner’s guidance as we make decisions. Asking where God is leading is essential. This is much more than a perfunctory prayer at the start of each meeting. It’s a process that is done by spiritually mature leaders who will commit substantial time to listen for God’s voice with the outcome being that, “It seemed right to the Holy Spirit and us …” (Acts 15:28).
  • No hard choices are made. The power of a real vision is that it declares a church’s priorities. By implication, it also declares those things that are NOT priorities. Unfortunately, many visions (and the processes by which they are developed) suffer from a bad case of peacekeeping and accommodation. When leaders approach the point of making hard trade-offs that will disappoint or alienate someone, they often pull back. The result is a lack of focus and clarity that robs the ministry of the anticipated benefits.
  • The next steps are missing. Visionary leaders are generally not known for their execution ability. Even if the visioning process has avoided the previous three ailments, someone needs to make the transition from a high-level, inspirational vision to concrete plans. Without this, people will wait and wonder what they are supposed to do.

I’m not the only person who has these mixed feelings about visions. I will close with one of my favorite quotes from one of America’s truly visionary pastors. “Visions excite people. They inspire people. They compel people into action. But unless people eventually see progress toward the fulfillment of the vision they will conclude that the vision caster is just a dreamer blowing smoke, and their morale will plummet” (Bill Hybels, Courageous Leadership). What’s the health of your vision?

Read more from Mike here.

Download PDF

Tags: , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Bonem

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.