Leaders lead better when they can see the full picture.
Over the past decade I’ve been able to witness the power of vision – both the good and the bad. I guess that is not quite right, vision itself is powerless unless it gets out so it might be better to say the power of vision communicated well and the problems of vision communicated poorly. Vision alone does not automatically ensure that great things will happen.
Between Proverbs 19:21 and Proverb 21:5 I think that its safe to believe that God wants us to determine the plan he has for our ministry and for us to help that plan turn into action.
Vision communicated clearly helps people know what to expect and knowing what to expect reduced questions and encourages unity. On the flip side, not lacking clarity only raises more questions. At one church, the volunteers were told that they should begin wearing name tags because it would help the church grow. Some wanted growth others didn’t see the need – but no one was able to make the connection between growth and name tags. As a result people didn’t wear them or raised questions and in turn the pastor felt that he was being challenged. Lack of clarity brought disunity.
A vision that is useable aids in decision making. In my current ministry setting, our church has a clear vision, which has resulted in priority being given to certain ministries. Others exist, but its known where we will put our focus.
It would be natural to think that those who know they are secondary would feel slighted, but the truth is far different. Because the secondary ministries know the vision and they know how what they do supports the primary ministries, there is no jealousy. Instead, everyone is focused on the major wins of the church, through whatever ministry they may be serving.
And, when it comes time to add or cut budgets, add or cut programs, or just about any decisions our priorities are defined making the discussions more focused.
The best part of a clear vision is that wins for your ministry is clear. In any sport, the fundamentals are important, but the win in basketball isn’t determined by who dribbled the ball the longest – it’s clearly about making baskets. In baseball, it’s not about hits; it’s about runners crossing home plate. And you’ll never hear the baseball manager encouraging his team to make as many baskets as they can – because that’s a win for a different kind of team.
In ministry, vision helps us define what we’re doing.
Poorly communicated vision leads to volunteers who think that children’s ministry is simply about kids being safe and having fun. A better communicated vision would let them know that those are important fundamentals but the true win is hearing about God’s love or feeling so cared for that they come back next week or….well, whatever God has planned for your ministry.
As you think about this, spend some time alone with God and make sure you know what he has planned for your ministry – don’t borrow someone else’s vision, God has one for you.
Then, once you know what it is, bath your communication in prayer and go communicate until you are horse and your fingers are sore.