As a leader God has placed a vision in your heart that is unique to you personally, to your church, and a vision that is effective to reach your community. That vision is the “WHY” that drives your organization. It is the reason why people get out of their beds early to serve, why they give to their church, and why they tell their friends and family about the church they love so much. They understand what their church is uniquely about and not only that but they have personally experienced it!
Vision is like the gas in the engine of your organization. Yes you have the tangible elements of the mission, systems, staff, and structure, but none of those things are going to get you very far without the fuel that is the vision. The reality is people do not rally around service times, they do not rally around buildings, and sadly they rarely rally around the directions of the writers of the Bible. But they do rally around a vision that takes those things and clearly explains why we do what we do and how that impacts real people in our communities. That is the vision that God has placed in your heart as the leader. That is the fuel to get the engine of your organization running and to keep it going. That is the “WHY” that people rally behind and sacrifice for.
Unfortunately most leaders over time forget the importance of their mission and start focusing more and more on the engine and less and less on the fuel. They allow modifications to take place that have nothing to do with where they are going and allow outside hands to tweak the organization in ways that suite them personally, but doesn’t benefit the organization moving forward. The greatest understanding a leader must have is this. We are married to the vision God has given our church and we never cheat on that vision under any circumstances! Too many leaders are unfaithful to their vision and that single thing is what is killing their organization more than anything else. They are creating a culture of infidelity when it comes to the vision of their church where anything goes. If we know anything it is that an affair strains a relationship more than anything else because it rocks trust to its core and without trust people will not sacrifice in ways that an organization needs for it to succeed.
Now as leaders we don’t cheat on the vision intentionally, but what happens is we start to focus more on the tangibles of our present and less on what we are building and where are we going. So we start letting things like money dictate our decisions, talent run the show, and strong personalities have a deciding opinion even though it is contrary to our vision. We are scared that if we say “no” that they will dismantle our engine and leave us broke down on the side of the road. What we don’t realize is we are already broke down because we have no fuel we are just distracted by all their modifications that are just a false sense of progress.
So where do we go from here so that we can be 100% committed to the vision God has given us? Here are three things to help us move forward:
1. Physically write out your vision.
You have to clearly state why you do what you do. How can you stay faithful to something you don’t even know what that something is? Gray areas are organizational killers! We must simplify and clarify what we are about as an organization. Before you do anything else block out time in your schedule to figure out your vision! You can also read my post here to help you clarify your vision.
2. Physically write out your “HOW”.
Now that you know your vision you need to figure out “HOW” you are going to achieve that vision. This needs to be what your organization does and you need to keep it simple. No more than 4 or 5 things. A healthy church cannot be a ministry buffet and have more events going on than the event center in your city. You have to write out only what you are about, how you will achieve that, and build from there. Maybe start extremely small and grow from there. Like we are only going to focus on our Sunday service for the next 6 months until that is solid and then add the next step. But simplifying your “HOW” keeps the vision clear and your people unified.
3. Your vision becomes your litmus test.
Everything is ran under the filter of your vision. Every idea, every ministry, every opportunity, every lead team member, every staff member, etc…. If it doesn’t marry seamlessly with your vision then it is a no go. That sounds harsh, but unnecessary modifications just mess up your gas mileage and keep you from going the distance that you were created to go!
4. Be willing to lose people.
You will lose people when you say no! Brace yourself and expect it, but you are losing people that are not helping but hurting the organization. We as leaders have to be ok with losing a few to gain many. The reality is that the people you lose need to find a church with a vision that they can rally around just as much as you need people to rally around your vision. In losing people you are actually benefiting them and yourself because a healthy organization is not a forced relationship. When we lose people that are not sold out our vision the mood rises, the growth starts happening, and the momentum takes off!
I would love to hear your thoughts below…. What are the biggest compromises that hurt your organizations vision?