Why is a vision so important for a pastor and a church? Vision determines your direction and prioritizes your limited time and resources.
I have learned so much over the years from Thom Rainer, Eric Geiger, and Will Mancini about vision, and much of what I write about in these next two posts I have learned from them and others. I have also picked up a few ideas from almost thirty years of pastoral experience.
Here are three essential components to casting a clear vision.
Your Vision Must Be Clear Before You Cast It
Vision serves as a ministry road map, giving both direction and efficiency. I don’t know how many times I have started driving in the general direction of my destination before consulting a GPS. In ministry, it is best to get good ministry directions before you share them with others.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). The Hebrew word “hazon” means “to see.” People can’t follow a vision they can’t clearly see.
Vance Havner said, “If there is a mist in the pulpit, there is a fog in the pew.”
Your Vision Must Be Consistent Before They Will Understand It
Your members are flooded with information, ideas, and advertisements. They need to hear and see your vision many times before it will stick.
A personal vision that captures people’s attention will capture your heart first and will not go away with time. Mere ideas usually fade with time, but authentic vision grows with time if it is cast and implemented consistently.
In the last church I last pastored, our relocation and ministry center were dual projects which enabled us to serve our city from two different campuses. Over the course of more than a decade, the vision became clearer while the strategy evolved and changed several times along the way. Our vision was rooted in a consistent conviction to serve our community, based on the timeless Great Commandment and Great Commission.
A conviction is similar to a passion. The difference is found in your tenacity. Passion can be big, but short term. A conviction is long term, and requires determination and resolve.
“Once you have clarified your vision, many important decisions will have already been made.” Eric Geiger
Your Vision Must Be Celebrated Before They Will Own It
Celebrating even small successes will reinforce members’ confidence as well as clarify the roadmap in their minds. I have found the influence of a live or video testimony is greatest immediately after a life-changing experience. Social media is also a legitimate way to celebrate a vision win.
Your church vision becomes what you celebrate. Put photos of your members living out your vision on the walls of your church and on your Facebook page. Give consistent shout-outs during your sermons.
“The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. King David also rejoiced greatly” (1 Chronicles 29:9).
Your church members will be inspired by the vision they see clearly and consistently celebrated by you and other respected leaders in your ministry. Otherwise, they may grow bored, distracted, or even disruptive.
Next week I’ll write about casting a compelling vision.