15 Looming Failures in a Vacuum of Vision Casting


“We don’t need that vision stuff. We just love God and love people.”

“I don’t like to sit around and talk about mission or values or strategic plans, I like getting things done.”

“I’m not a visionary like [successful pastor in town], people just need more commitment to the Word.”

“Just preach Jesus, that’s all the vision the church needs.”

Recently, I have heard more than just a few pastors use statements like the above. For some, even using the word ‘vision’ brings forth a kind of extra-biblical, crystal-ball, predict-the-future fear. However, casting vision is simply this: articulating a picture of God’s better future for your church.

Vision casting is critical because people need a picture. They can focus with a picture. They can mark progress in their own spiritual growth with a picture. They can see beyond Sunday worship attendance with a picture. They can survive seasons in the wilderness with a picture. They can understand the real nature of discipleship with a picture. Jesus cast vision of a coming Kingdom and taught His followers with pictures.

Without a picture… people wander. They more easily prioritize ball games and lake vacations over the things of God.

As leaders, when we fail to cast a clear, concise and compelling vision of where God is taking us, people drift in and out of church. They fail to find the greater value, because we are living off of Sunday-to-Sunday leadership. This holds to be particularly true for the younger generations, who are seeking to make a tangible impact and realize purpose with their lives, not just attend another Sunday event. After all, they have near instant access to uplifting worship music, podcast sermons, and live-streamed services. Vision unites people around a calling that is contextual to a local church and catalytic to spiritual growth in everyday life.

At Auxano, we introduce the need to “rethink vision” with (non-exegetical) wordplay on the KJV language of Proverbs 29:18, saying that where there is no vision, the people… cherish. They cherish things like paint colors, or casual dress, or hymns, or electric guitars, or children-down-front moments, or even ric-rac-edged Sunday School bulletin boards. And often, these well-intentioned people will fight until death over seemingly insignificant, non-eternal issues. Why? When we fail to introduce them to a lasting picture of discipleship and growth in Christ, they will eventually make the temporal holy.

Lately I have been wondering what else happens when leaders neglect vision in their churches. After 20+ years on church staff, or serving alongside church staff, the failures of living in a vacuum of vision casting are more clear every day.

















Avoiding any, or all, of the failures above begins with a clearly-cast vision of where God is leading the church. Here is a powerful article from Auxano founder, Will Mancini, on what a clear, Biblical picture of the future could look like for local church leaders through the Horizon Storyline tool.

Want to know more about the Horizon Storyline? Talk with an Auxano Navigator.

> Read more from Bryan.

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Bryan Rose

As Lead Navigator for Auxano, Bryan Rose has a strong bias toward merging strategy and creativity within the vision of the local church and has had a diversity of experience in just about every ministry discipline over the last 12 years. With his experience as a multi-site strategist and campus pastor at a 3500 member multi-campus church in the Houston Metro area, Bryan has a passion to see “launch clarity” define the unique Great Commission call of developing church plants and campus, while at the same time serving established churches as they seek to clarify their individual ministry calling. Bryan has demonstrated achievement as a strategic thinker with a unique ability to infuse creativity into the visioning process while bringing a group of people to a deep sense of personal ownership and passion.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
— Glenna Hendricks
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright

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