I gave my life to Christ toward the end of the infamous Jesus Movement revival while hitchhiking around the United States. About a year later, I was traveling to the "Rainbow Gathering" in northern Montana when I met some Blackfoot Indians who were followers of Jesus. Their names were Albert and Agnes Wells. They had come to Christ in the 1940s through a personal visitation of Jesus while drinking in a bar. Everyone in the bar saw Jesus and heard Him say, "Sober up and follow me". Thirty-five years later, they invited me to live with them and begin my discipleship journey.
One winter night, after being touched by the presence of God in a small Bible study, I went out into the field to pray, asking God to reveal my destiny. God spoke in a radical way and gave me a vision for my life and future. Through this life-changing encounter, along with a number of other confirming prophecies over the years, I discovered my life vision: to preach the gospel of the kingdom to the church and to empower the body of Christ to transform the world.
In my last article, I wrote about "Visionary Leadership." Although vision is essential, it is useless unless it produces a clear mission. Literally speaking, "Vision is what we see" as we look into the future. On the other hand, "Mission is what we do" to achieve what we see.
Throughout over 40 years of ministry, I have experienced many successes and some pretty painful failures. But the one thing that has kept me moving forward in the grace of God is a clear sense of vision and mission.
For most of us, our "life vision" remains the same, but our mission priorities often change throughout the different seasons of our lives. Although my vision for the global church has always remained strong, my mission has adjusted many times over the years.
— 1977. Returning to the city I grew up in as a young minister to help plant to Gospel Outreach church and minister to the people of our city.
— 1980. I was the co-founder of SOS Ministries, mobilizing thousands to share their faith on the streets of San Francisco. I met my wife, Diane, during this outreach.
— 1984. Planting the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of San Francisco with Diane. This church became the breakthrough church in the city in the 90s.
— 1994. Embracing the Toronto Blessing and hosting nightly meetings (six nights a week) in our 1,200 seat auditorium for almost 18 months.
— 2000. Leaving the Vineyard and continuing for 10 more years as a non-affiliated church hosting intercession and revival for the transformation of our city.
Yet in the year 2010, our mission priority changed. Although we thought we would live and die in San Francisco, the Lord clearly indicated that our season of pastoral ministry in the city was over, and it was time to expand our mission from pastoring one church to pastoring hundreds of pastors around the world. We soon launched pastorscoach.com.
Now, in 2021, our mission priority is changing again. Diane and I have renewed our partnership with Catch the Fire, the movement that grew out of the Toronto Blessing. We have been asked to pioneer a new network called Leaders Alliance. Our mission is to equip and empower world-changing leaders from every sphere of society by providing training that is both supernatural and super-practical. Same vision ... new mission.
Hopefully, my story helps to illustrate the relationship between vision and mission.
As we close, I want to leave you with one key for turning your God-given vision into a powerful mission. I call it "reverse visioneering." Here's how it works:
— Step one in reverse visioneering is to disassemble your vision into measurable pieces. These are your mission priorities. What are you hoping to accomplish? How many people will you reach? What kind of team do you need? What is your budget? Be specific in setting both qualitative and quantitative goals.
— Step two is to strategize the growth and development of each of the components. I recommend creating a timeline that corresponds to your vision and set incremental steps to achieve each outcome that is determined. If you hope to achieve these goals in five years, where do you need to be in three years or even just one year?
— Step three is to assign responsibility for each of your mission priorities to each of your team members and equip them to be successful in every aspect of their responsibilities. Help them see the vision clearly. Help them take responsibility for their part of the vision. Support them in achieving the goals they have set.
In my next article, we will explore more dimensions of what it means to be a missional leader.
Editor's Note: This is part of the Kingdom Leadership series. Read more from Michael Brodeur here.
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