One of the most important ingredients in the life of a Church or Mission is Vision. Simply put, it is what God has put in the Pastor/ Missionary/ Leader’s heart for the work He has called them to lead. It is the “Big Picture” of what ministry could and should look like when Goals, Direction, Purpose, and Plans are put in place, fully developed, and implemented.
It is like the architect’s rendering of a building showing what it will look like after the construction takes place. Vision shows the picture of what Could and Should be as God gives the leader His will for that work.
Just like the rendering, Vision is just the “Picture” not the plans. A set of plans to build out what the architect draws often takes page after page of detailed drawings and instructions to be followed by construction workers to accomplish the building visioned by the rendering.
Likewise, it will take a great deal of planning and strategy development to come up with a MAP (Ministry Action Plan) to be used in the accomplishment of the Vision for the ministry. This falls into the category of “Mission” – how the vision will be accomplished.
Before an architect or artist can draw or paint the picture on the canvas, they must first see it in their mind’s eye. The print does not just jump onto the paper or canvas on it’s own. The same is with Vision. The leader must first see it in their heart before they can bring it to reality.
This is not a difficult concept to grasp. We employ it in any walks of life. A coach sees his team having the ability to win the game or conference title and lays out their “Game Plan” to victory. A business person envisions their company’s success and sees the results and steps needing to be taken to accomplish this success.
So it is with the ministry leader. God puts in his heart a picture of what and how ministry could and should be. The leader ponders and meditates on what God has placed in his heart. He or she may share that with a few others asking them to pray with him about this direction. A Vision for the success of the ministry and work is birthed as a result and then used to develop a MAP to proceed and implement.
Most Christ Followers are familiar with the scripture in Proverbs 29:18 which declares the impact a lack of vision has on others – they perish. Maintaining a thriving business or ministry is difficult and probably impossible without a Clear Vision being cast and developed into a Mission plan of action for all engaged to follow. I am not discounting the ability of God to intervene in His divine way. I am just saying without the leader having a defined vision which leads to a developed strategy, which impacts the function and work of everyone involved – it is highly likely all will be completely frustrated by the process and lack of goals and objectives to be attained.
Yet, in many churches, missions, and ministries this is what we see. There is no clear vision being shared which defines paths and plans to be followed by staff, members, and others. The result is a total lack of a developed strategy and ministry plan and negative consequences rather than blessings.
We have noted the results of a lack of Vision. Things change when the leader does capture God’s desire for His ministry and work in that place. Now he is able to share this with staff and others who join him in bringing this Vision to pass. Now there is a clearly defined path that is the main consideration for Strategy Development. Now there can be a MAP developed and plans put in place to accomplish the Vision.
Once Vision leads to the development of strategy things begin to happen. What it will take to accomplish the vision can be assessed. Starting with where you are at present, and comparing that with where the Vision leads you, steps can be determined and ordered to embark on the path to painting that picture.
As mentioned at the start, Vision drives the development of Strategy and Ministry results. Once cast, Vision begins to shape a working strategy which includes:
- Personnel required (Paid or Volunteer)
- The Recruiting and Training of the personnel
- A determination of “Next Steps” and the order and schedule to be taken
- Resources required which includes budget, facilities, as well as personnel
- A Plan for Vision Sharing and Buy In
- A means for Measuring Progress
- A plan for Mobilizing needed people
- An Implementation Plan
Within each of these bullet points can be an entire set of developed points to make these happen.
An Acts 1:8 Vision & Strategy:
We often ask ministry leaders about their vision and hear a response that is very vague like, “ we want to reach a lot of people for the Lord”. That is certainly the point of all ministry, but leaders need to cast a more specific and defined vision which addresses:
- Who will we reach?
- Where will we reach them?
- How will we reach them?
- Who will do the work to reach others?
- How will this be a part of our Vision Strategy?
- What resources will it take to reach others?
All these things need to be considered in the development of Vision & Strategy.
In Acts 1:8 there are four clearly defined areas which it speaks to for Vision and Strategy development. At Here2There we refer to it as your JJSU – Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Uttermost. This is a great verse to use as a guide for making sure all ministry areas are covered.
Have you ever thought about your vision and strategy in light of your JJSU? To do so you must first define what these areas are for your ministry. As an example one church with which we work defined their JJSU as follows:
- Jerusalem is the congregation which needs to be fed and edified
- Judea is the surrounding community they seek to reach
- Samaria is anyone in emergency life status – homeless, jobless, etc.
- Uttermost is the Foreign Missions Outreach
Here are the steps which followed after this church took this Vision step:
- In creating these defined parts of their Vision the Pastor was able to cast some more specific ministry goals to impact these areas.
- Strategy for each of these vision areas was established beginning with the selection of Leaders for each area.
- The Pastor shared his Vision Plan with the congregation asking each one to pray about becoming a part of one of these Vision Teams
- These Vision Teams meet monthly to discuss ways to accomplish the Vision for their area.
- Members of each team share how God is working as ministry is accomplished
- The Pastor has been able to maintain his Vision Casting with each of these Vision Leaders and Members of these Vision Teams
Since addressing Vision and Strategy in this way, this church has renewed excitement as they pray, plan, participate, and celebrate what God is doing in their midst.
It started with the development of a Clearly Defined Vision.
Consider the following questions regarding your Churches, Missions, and Ministry’s Vision and Strategy for accomplishing it.
- What is the Vision of your work?
- How does Vision impact the Ministry Strategy in your work?
- How is Vision & Strategy Shared in your work?