Vision is the "What"


Developing a vision for your life, family or organization is a process that defines a problem, identifies a solution, and creates motivation for action.

If purpose is about “why,” then vision is about “what.” I’ve always defined vision as “what it will look like when we get there.” Andy Stanley defines vision as “a mental picture of what could be fueled by the passion that it should be.”

I like his definition better.

Vision motivates us big time. Vision can move the intangible to the tangible, the vague to the specific, the inanimate to the living and the impossible to the doable. To see an example of a vision statement, check out Andy’s vision for North Point Ministries: “To create churches that un-churched people love to attend.” This statement is broad, clear, simple, “big picture,” long-term, action oriented and desirable.

Very few of us ever really think about vision. Maybe we lack the imagination or the concentration to think hard about what could and should be. I’ve been working on a vision statement for our family. Our current family is really three families living in three cities (Two kids and their spouses plus five grandchildren!) Here’s what I have so far: to love God, love each other, love people and do capers together.

A friend of mine looked up a talk that Andy did on "vision" in which he lays out how to develop vision and a vision statement. Here are the first steps he suggests:

1. Define the problem–What is the problem the vision is designed to solve?
Your "peeps" must feel the problem.

2. Explain how your vision is the solution. Engage the imagination to predict what the problem will look like or how the problem is solved/improved once your vision becomes a reality.

3. Give a compelling reason to act. Why should this be done now? Why is it urgent?

Once you’ve honed your vision into something that’s clear and coherent, come up with a brief, poignant and memorable sentence or phrase that people can understand, relate to and “own.”

The next steps are:

4. Cast your vision and cast it continually – Vision creates passion, purpose and direction. It must compel people. “If we don’t do it, it won’t get done.” The leader is the steward of the vision he casts. He can’t just cast it once. He must cast it continuously and convincingly.

5. Celebrate your vision systematically – Celebrating victories shows people the vision is working; plus, it gives the leader a chance to redefine the vision and to reinforce its urgency and importance. Testimonials, especially visual ones, remind people “its working” because success keeps them engaged. My group, Radical Mentoring, looks for stories of men who’ve experienced transformational life-change through a mentoring group to show the tribe how valuable mentors can be. I create music videos of vacations with "capers" to remind our family how great it is to love each other and do stuff together. North Point does baptism videos to highlight how the vision is working—how "un-churched" people are coming to Christ through a great church and through small groups.

6. Model your vision publicly – The leader must participate fully in the vision. He has to let his "peeps" see and feel his personal passion for the vision through his own participation. Andy and Sandra participate in small groups to model that small groups are important to them personally. We’re challenging senior pastors to personally create and lead Radical Mentoring groups. Modeling disciple-making gives others permission and motivation to become disciple-makers.

Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18).

Question: Have you thought seriously about a vision for your life, your family, company, practice, school, church, ministry, or organization?

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