Regardless of what type leadership you’re talking about – either secular or religious – you can’t read two sentences of any book or article without seeing the word “vision.” According to all of the experts, every organization needs to have a compelling vision to drive it into the future. Without this vision, the organization wanders in the wilderness without any clear sense of direction or accomplishment.
So, most leadership teams spend hours on retreats trying to hammer out a one sentence statement that tells the world why they exist in the first place. After they get this sentence written, they announce it with great fanfare, print it on everything that can hold ink and then… what?
Well… nothing. For most people and organizations, that’s as far as it goes. The vision statement is voted on, applauded and forgotten.
This is why vision isn’t enough. Yes, every organization –including churches– need a compelling vision. They need a clear statement that articulates the direction and ultimate destination of the organization. This ultimate destination should be known by everyone and should make some kind of sense.
Putting the first missionary on the moon is a great vision, but most churches aren’t going to do that. The vision should make people swallow hard, but it should also make them roll up their sleeves.
And when they roll up their sleeves, the vision has to have a WORKABLE STRATEGY. Not only do people want to know where you’re going, they want to know how you’re going to get there. The strategy outlines the process through which the vision is becoming reality. If you’re going to London, it makes a difference if you’re flying or sailing. The strategy will determine what you need to be doing now.
This brings us to our next point: Everyone needs to know their immediate next step.
- Here’s where we’re going (vision)
- Here’s how we’re going to get there (strategy)
- Here’s what we need to do right now (next steps)
Every vision has to be broken down into small action steps that can be done right now. Every action should lead to execution of the strategy that, in time, brings the vision to fruition. Failure to understand and properly communicate any of these will cause the entire organization to grind to a halt.
So, pastor, here are the questions:
- Does your church know where it’s going?
- Does your church know it’s getting there?
- Does your church (and for that matter, do you) know what steps have to be taken immediately in order to accomplish the first two?