Casting vision is one of the most important tools in the pastor’s tool belt. With vision you excite people about the future. With vision you bring necessary changes to the church. With vision you mobilize people to solve problems vexing the community. Effective vision casting sets change into motion.
Charged with the task of feeding and leading the sheep, this vital skill must be learned by pastors who desire to lead well.
Where is Vision Needed?
The church you lead needs to have an overall vision of what it is running after. There needs to be identifiable targets and objectives. But in addition to the church’s overall vision, there will be smaller visions that accompany it.
There is a vision for how guest experience should look. There is a vision for what a child’s experience in kid’s ministry will be. There is a vision for how to disciple students. There is a vision for what corporate worship will look like. There is a vision for how preaching will be done and how people will come to faith.
These visions are not competing; in fact, the smaller ones must be in alignment with the overall vision. But the key point is this: if you want each area and ministry of the church to look a particular way, you must cast vision.
Casting More Effective Vision
So how can you get better at casting vision? There are three things I have discovered that can exponentially improve the effectiveness of casting vision.
1. Recruit early adopters
If you are looking to cast big picture vision for the church, do not go at alone. One of the most important things you can do is sit down with influencers and leaders in the church and cast the vision to them first. Sit down and paint the picture of where you believe the church needs to go. Answer their questions.
You do the same in other areas. If you have a desire to see the parking lot experience for guests improved, talk to a few people involved with it or who could be. If you want to see a change in the kid’s ministry, talk with key influencers before sharing it with the whole ministry or making the change.
The power of having early adopters is that they become vision carriers. They become cheerleaders and fans of the vision, which helps bring others in the church on board. Early adopters prepares the vision for success.
2. Raise the urgency levels
A good vision is a picture of a future that is not reality yet. It is not a vision if it is something already in place. It is a picture of what needs to be reality. This requires change. It demands movement. If you are going to go from “here” (where the church/ministry is currently) to “there” (where it needs to go), you must make staying “here” unbearable. This requires raising the urgency levels for going to “there.”
Bill Hybels tells the story about going to his church’s care center on a cold winter day. The place designed to minister to those in need through helping with food, bills, jackets, and even vehicle problems, was not in good shape. There was no lobby, so people waiting to be helped were standing in the cold, sometimes for hours. Mothers were holding children, often times without jackets. He was disturbed by what he saw. The next weekend he returned to the care center and took pictures of the situation. He then shared with the congregation what was happening, showed them the pictures, and then challenged them by saying, “Gang, this is a ministry of our church and this is what is happening. Are you okay with that?” The response was phenomenal. It eventually led to an outpouring of financial gifts to build a new care center.
Here is the point: Hybels could have stood up and said a new care center was needed. He could talk about all the good things a new care center would do. But in order to initiate change, he needed to create urgency. Pastor, you have to find ways to raise urgency levels for pursuing the vision. You must make staying put and doing nothing unacceptable.
3. Drip vision into everything
One transition that could make all the difference in the world in your vision casting is the frequency. Instead of waiting for a Vision Sunday or special meetings, learn to drip vision into everything you do. Learn to cast vision in every interaction with the church.
You can be preaching on the holiness of God. But if your vision is for reaching lost people with the gospel, then show how the holiness of God drives the church to be about its vision. Because God is holy and man is sinful, the urgency for going and evangelizing is elevated. Drip vision into the sermon.
Drip vision into your meetings. Whether it is a deacons meeting, elder meeting, meeting with volunteer leaders, meeting with staff, or just meeting with prospective new members, cast vision. Be always dripping vision into the conversation. This is how vision sticks.
Casting vision and learning to do it effectively is just as important as learning to preach well. Preaching is vital for feeding the flock. Casting vision is vital for leading the flock. Work on adapting these three elements into your vision casting as a leader and you will see increased participation, and ultimately, more visions becoming reality.