Imagine a baseball team where the players don’t share a unified vision of winning games. They don’t listen to the coach and each individual thinks he knows best what will win the game. That’s probably not going to be the best strategy. A strong, successful team is a team with one unified vision, and the coach is the one who needs to inspire the players to share that vision. Church leaders often function in a coaching role for the staff and volunteers that they lead by inspiring a shared vision that keeps everyone working together in the same direction. If a clear vision isn’t articulated, you will find that there can be many visions often competing for time, energy and attention.
In order to inspire a shared vision, there are two critical components – inspiration and vision. To inspire means to guide or affect by divine influence, to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something, to breathe into. I pray that as leaders, we are being inspired by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. We also need to be inspiring others and there are several ways that we can do that:
Through our words: the words of a leader are powerful, whether for good or bad.
Through our stories: getting to know each other.
Through our attitude and enthusiasm: this applies to all
personality types; even quieter people can be inspiring.
Through our actions: people will watch what you do more than listen to what you say.
Vision is the ability to think about or plan the future with wisdom, a mental image of what the future will or could be like. We need to be seeking God’s wisdom and allow Him to direct our plans and thoughts when it comes to the future of our churches. But even if you have the greatest of visions for your church, you won’t get too far if you aren’t clearly casting that vision to those you lead. Casting vision is a lot like fishing. You have to watch that the line doesn’t get tangled when you cast; you have to have clear and straightforward communication when sharing vision with people. You also have to do it over and over again. Vision leaks over time and people need to be reminded of the future they are working towards. Even if you think you’re over-communicating, do it more!
We also need to make sure that the vision we are casting is an inspiring one. What makes an inspiring vision? It should paint an exciting and clear picture of the future, compel and motivate people to get on board, move people to action, engage the heart, tell the story of impact, and be forward looking with a sense of direction. Most importantly, it needs to be based on
Habakkuk 2:2-3 says, “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Write my answer plainly on tablets, so that a runner can carry the correct message to others. This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.” The Lord also used tablets for sharing the Ten Commandments – clear communication that shared the vision He had for His people. To truly be one team, we need to have one vision, clearly communicated and inspiring us to action.