6 tips for leading your church with vision
By effectively sharing a vision for ministry, pastors can help their church serve Christ in all that they do.
It is a new year, and unlike years before, this particular new year is wonderfully wrapped with the common medical term related to normal vision. That’s right. It’s 2020. It’s a word that suggests someone has good vision. As such, I would not be surprised if pastors all over the globe have already rushed to their studies to think of creative ways to utilize this fun pun to develop, revisit, or redirect their church’s vision statement for the present year.
To be clear, I believe every ministry should have a well written vision statement. A “vision statement” summarizes an organization’s ambition. It is designed to encourage congregants, employees, staff, etc. to support their organization as it seeks to fulfill its purpose. Paula Fernandes, contributing author to Business News Daily, provides some excellent insight on the purpose of a vision statement and how to write one in her article “What is a Vision Statement?” She even provides several examples from successful companies all over the world to support her arguments. It’s a good read, and a useful resource for those seeking to write their vision statement.
Additionally, organizations should consider how to present their vision statement once it is written. Therefore, as vision statements are finalized for 2020, I thought I would provide a few suggestions on how to present and communicate one’s vision to an organization, specifically in this case, a church. Staying in line with our 20/20 pun, and based on a list from Stanton Optical, I will first provide an optometric description regarding several visual skills doctors often test during an eye exam. I will then illustrate how pastors can utilize these concepts to effectively communicate their vision with their church in 2020.
Here are six suggestions for effectively sharing your vision statement with your congregation in 2020:
1. Speak with clarity
Visual acuity is the ability to see objects clearly. Patients prove their visual acuity by successfully discerning what it is they are looking at on the chart. Similarly, God has provided a written document describing our duty and He expects us to understand it and communicate it clearly. Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us not to lean on our own understanding but to trust God as he directs our paths.
As pastors share their vision with the church in 2020, they must identify, understand, and communicate God’s will. They do this by illustrating how their vision for the church accurately reflects Scripture. This will encourage the congregation to trust God for direction, not man. When you share your vision for the church, share how it reflects God’s Word.
2. Recognize the challenge
Depth perception is the ability to identify the relative distance between objects in one’s field of vision. Patients illustrate their depth perception quality by accurately recognizing how far away something is as well as how much effort it would take to reach it.
Likewise, Proverbs 13:16 praises the person who acts with knowledge, and criticizes those who brag about their folly. Therefore, when pastors share their vision for the church, they should identify how challenging it will be to achieve, as well as how long it will take to do so. The accuracy regarding both challenge and time here matters.
Underestimating how challenging a vision can be to achieve will discourage the congregation during difficult seasons, while overestimating its challenge will dampen church members’ conviction that they need to be involved. When you share your vision for the church, acknowledge how challenging it will be, how long it will take, and how your congregants can get involved to achieve it.
3. Model commitment
Focus is the ability to center one’s attention on something specific. Patients prove their ability to focus by maintaining a consistent and clear perspective on a single item, despite changes within the environment. Comparably, Hebrews 12 reminds us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus by setting aside all distractions. There are several ministries a church can pursue, both inside and outside of the church.
Unfortunately, pursuing every ministry opportunity available is impossible. Failing to narrow a church’s focus regarding ministry opportunities (their vision) can lead to ministry burnout. Obviously, when random needs emerge, we must be good Samaritans. That being said, doing everything for Jesus does not mean doing everything. We are finite, and must choose how we spend our time.
For this reason, pastors should be very specific regarding their ministry efforts when they share their vision for the church. By narrowing their focus in ministry, pastors can clarify what they intend to do, while successfully directing their church towards specific ministry opportunities geared towards helping them fulfill their vision to serve Christ in all that they do. Narrow the focus. Illustrate your commitment. Avoid ministry burnout.
4. Communicate in color
Color vision is the ability to identify differences between light composed of different wavelengths, which influences one’s ability to identify a difference in perceived hue.
Patients can illustrate their ability to see different colors by accurately identifying and categorizing the colors they see. Regarding the present article, I am simply suggesting there are many ways we can share our vision for the church, from an aesthetic point of view. We don’t need to limit our vision statement presentation to a simple sentence. Instead, we have an opportunity to creatively share our vision in a number of ways.
We should consider this point. To illustrate, God could have easily given us a simple data sheet, complete with brief yet relevant information regarding our relationship with him. Instead, He provided a beautifully complex narrative that magnifies God’s love towards us, while inviting us to repent from our sin and turn to him.
The Bible is filled with poetry, metaphors, parables, geography, history, romance, war, prophesy, instruction, facts, etc. By sharing your vision in different ways, you improve the likelihood every member of your congregation will be able to see it. Therefore, when pastors share their vision for the church in 2020, they should consider the diverse ways they have to communicate it.
5. Exercise caution
Peripheral awareness refers to how wide one’s vision is and whether or not one can see what is nearby without directly looking at it. Patients prove their peripheral abilities by recognizing what they see around them, while staying focused on what’s ahead of them. Those who have poor peripheral awareness stand in danger of being blind-sided. For this reason, I tend to view this visual skill as a preventative measure.
First Peter 5:8 illustrates the importance of this perspective by reminding us to be watchful, for our adversary seeks someone to devour. I’m not suggesting here that everyone outside of the church is seeking to attack our views. I’m merely suggesting it is wise to know how others will interpret our actions and ambitions. Therefore, when pastors share their vision for the church, they should also be aware of how others might interpret that vision. Stay focused on your vision, and identify how others will interpret it.
6. Practice collaborate
Eye coordination is one’s ability to use both eyes, together at the same time, as a team. Both eyes receive slightly different angles of the same image. Therefore, one’s eyes have to work together in order for that person to properly see. Similarly, Romans 12 reminds us to work together in harmony not in competition. Therefore, when it comes to sharing content, it is important for pastors to illustrate how their vision helps various ministries work together, as a team, not in competition. This includes, I believe, other like-minded churches in the same community, as well as other likeminded ministries all over the world.
I’m disappointed when one church claims superiority to a sister church or when one ministry criticizes another for not being as successful. Division occurs when believers and non-believers witness religious organizations bickering back and forth over numbers, success rates, locations, etc. When pastors share their vision for the church, they should illustrate how their vision complements, not competes with, other believers’ efforts. Complement other ministries.