The Power of Vision
by Certified Church Consultant, Dr. Michael Rackley
Vision is defined as a clear picture of a destination of a church.
Vision is the blueprint for building a bridge to the future. – John C. Maxwell, (from the Maxwell Leadership Bible).
Visions are born in the soul of a man or woman who is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be. – Pastor Andy Stanley
A vision is defined as a clear, challenging picture of the future of the ministry, as you believe that it can and must be. – Dr. A Malphurs
Deuteronomy 8:7-10 is a biblical example of a God-given vision for Israel as Moses communicated:
7 For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; 8a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; 9a land where you will eat bread without shortage, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. 10When you have eaten and are satisfied, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.
As we look at this powerful vision God gave to Israel, it inspires, motivates, and paints a clear picture and a destination. Keep in mind the basic element of an effective church vision is a “clear compelling or challenging picture.” First, do the people understand the vision? Second, does it provide the fuel that moves people to action? Third, is it measurable?
Let’s drill down and look at a few examples of this God-given vision if we removed certain keywords that would make this vision vague, ineffective, and difficult to articulate to a congregation.
For example, what if we removed “good” from land, in verse 7?
In verse 7, instead of it reading “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land,” it now reads, “For the Lord, your God is bringing you into a land.”
The adjective good in the scripture colors in the vision and describes a picture which is appealing and pleasant to the senses. This is indicative of the senses of humans.
Another example is also in verse 7. Instead of it reading “a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills”, it now reads “a land” and omits the rest which is descriptive.
Get the picture?!!!
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water.” This is a picture.
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a land.” This is not a picture.
So, when a church’s vision is vague, unclear, and ineffective it doesn’t motivate and doesn’t give direction, or a destination. Second, if a vision can’t be measured, how would the church know whether they have fulfilled the vision so they can re-envision?
The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18 KJV
As it relates to pastors and visions, George Barna writes:
“But when we asked these pastors, can you articulate God’s vision for the ministry of your church?’ we found that roughly 90% of them could articulate a basic definition of ministry. But only 2% of pastors can articulate the vision for their church.”
As church leaders, we must be able to define and understand the purpose of an effective vision, and successfully communicate it to the congregation, so the “vision is caught, not taught.”
Remember, a compelling vision (God-given) gives life to a church, so it can see and know where it’s going. Here is a list of seven reasons why a vision is important:
- Provides energy
- Creates cause
- Fosters risk-taking
- Legitimizes leadership
- Energizes leadership
- Sustains ministry
- Motivates giving
- It’s measurable
In conclusion, when a church has prayed, and its leadership received and clearly articulated a compelling vision (God-given vision) to its congregation that can be measured, they respond to that vision by giving their time, talents, prayer, and their financial resources.
Advanced Strategic Planning – A 21st Century Model For Church and Ministry Leaders, by Aubrey Malphurs.
The Complete Wordstudy Dictionary Old Testament, by Baker Carpenter.
The Man Who Brought Marketing to the Church, Leadership 16, no.3 (Summer 1995): 124-25.