“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality” – Warren Bennis
In Proverbs, it is written that “where there is no vision the people perish.” That must mean then that where there IS vision the people will flourish. Vision is a word that we hear often in ministry leadership. We spend many sleepless nights developing it, countless hours casting it to our teams and just about all of our budgets to carry it out. The vision that God has placed in your heart accounts for pretty much everything you do in life. It is a very important thing because without vision you really aren’t going anywhere.
Vision is like a rose bush. You can’t just plant it and walk away. If you do it will grow in all kinds of crazy directions and stifle out everything around it. Vision needs to be pruned and watered and cared for before it can grow into something breathtaking and beautiful. It is easy to dream up a vision and passionately communicate it to everyone. The challenge comes when that “new vision shine” has worn off.
Many young leaders struggle when it comes to keeping a vision strong so their teams don’t suffer from vision drift. Here are some ways that you can keep the vision God has given you on the front lines.
- Make your vision statement memorable: If people can’t memorize the vision in one simple statement then you are going to really struggle when it comes to keeping it alive. Many leaders struggle to take something so big and get it down to one simple statement. If you struggle with this I would encourage you to mobilize a team of volunteers to help you.
- Make relationships a priority: I have always said that vision is best communicated through relationships. When someone knows who you are they can understand your heart better. Many young leaders lose sight of the deep value of developing relationships. Take the time to connect with as many people as you can. Invest in their families and take people along with you.
- Repeat it often: This has been said in just about every article ever written on vision. It is very true though. When you live in the vision details every day it can be easy to feel like a broken record. Your team probably won’t feel that way though. Repeat the vision as often as possible.
- Create values that align with the vision: Don’t have a million values. Just like your vision statement, people need to be able to remember what your values are. I suggest that you have no more than four core values. Make sure they support the vision you have cast.
- If it doesn’t align with the vision and values…don’t do it: If you venture outside of the world of the vision and values you have created then anything you choose to take on that doesn’t directly connect to them will cause people to get confused. We have vision so everyone can know what we are working toward accomplishing. If you set aside your vision to take on something different, people will assume the vision has changed.
- Never stop developing the vision: Every day you do ministry you should grow one step closer to achieving the vision that God gave you. It always bothers me when I hear leaders say, “We have a waiting list for volunteers,” or “We have achieved our goal.” My opinion is that if you have more people, money, facilities, or any other resource than you need then your vision is too small. When your vision is too small the passionate people around you will expand it for you. At that point you are no longer the leader, even if you have the title. Never stop developing the vision. Keep expanding and growing it.
Remember, it is our job to make sure that the people we serve flourish in their areas of ministry. That is impossible without vision. Take the time to keep it moving forward and never stop revisiting it. You won’t be sorry!