Recently I was watching an episode of Shark Tank where Mark Cuban asked two ladies who were pitching their swimsuit business the following question, “How big do you see this business becoming?” In other words, Mark Cuban wanted to know what the vision of the company was, or where they saw their business going, so that he could make a calculated response of whether or not he wanted to make an investment.
Here was their reply, “We see this getting huge!”
I figured their energetic and enthusiastic response was typical. However, I was taken back by Mark Cuban’s comeback. He simply uttered, “Huge isn’t a number.”
For Mark to make an investment, he was looking for something more specific.
As I contemplated the exchange I couldn’t help but think of the way many church leaders communicate their vision. Let’s face it, when asked, “Where do you see your church going or, what do you see your church doing?” The majority of churches and church leaders often provide an answer that goes something like this, “We see our church reaching our city with the good news of Jesus Christ.” While this is an appropriate and positive response, it’s general and vague rather than specific. What if we provided specificity when explaining our vision rather than vagueness?
Offering specificity is exactly what Keith Taylor has led Beulah Alliance Church to do. Keith is the Lead Pastor at Beulah Alliance Church in Edmonton, Alberta, and is my former pastor who I admire immensely. Under Keith’s leadership, Beulah has the vision “To reach 1% of greater Edmonton for Christ; engaging people to Connect with God, Grow through community, and Serve our World.” By adding the part of reaching the 1%, Beulah’s vision is specific.
For many, this may be a new way of thinking about vision. Some may think we shouldn’t play the numbers game—leaving numbers up to God. Some people may think specifying vision in such a way is haughty and hubristic. I understand and am sympathetic to such arguments. But, I can’t help but believe that every number represents a soul for whom Christ died, and that Jesus left the ninety-nine to go after the one. So, I’m perfectly comfortable with churches and church leaders like Keith specifying vision in a way that is humble and God-honoring.
In a recent interview with NewChurches.com, Keith shared two pros of adding specificity to vision.
1. Adding specificity to vision gives people something tangible to reach for.
Crafting a specific vision gives people something tangible to reach for. In Beulah’s case, the members are specifically envisioning reaching 1% of their city for Christ. One percent may not seem like a lot, but because Edmonton’s population is over one million people, they are basically praying and attempting to reach over 10,000. Thus, instead of just reaching Edmonton for Christ, which is a general statement, they have specified it—given something tangible for their people to pursue.
2. Adding specificity to vision offers a clarion call for more people to invest in the vision.
Not only does crafting a specific vision give something tangible for people to reach for, it also sounds a clarion call for people to get off the bench and into the game. I’ve been in vocational ministry for many years, and I’ve talked to hundreds and thousands of church members, and many, when they hear a general vision or call to serve, they figure someone else will step up and do it. However, when churches raise the stakes by setting a specific vision—one that is bigger than any one individual or one that will take great faith—it naturally creates the tension that this vision won’t be possible unless all hands are on deck. It will, very practically, require a lot more hands on deck for Beulah to reach 10,000 than some general vision of reaching an unspecified number of people.
This post originally appeared on NewChurches.com and is used with permission. Click for info on a free trial membership to NewChurches.com.