On a weekend I wasn't working, I thought I'd visit another church in town. I walked into an environment that seemed disconnected. Everyone seemed to have his own goal for how the service should run. Worship, announcements and the message all seemed to have different goals that interfered with each other. It was odd.
As I chatted with the engineer in the sound booth, I heard him say "they" told him to do things a certain way, but that he "didn't want to." I was just making small talk about the service and the team's gear. After about the third time he said "they," I asked, "Are you a part of this church?" He stumbled and said yes. I told him I noticed he used "they" a lot instead of "we." Then I asked about the vision and main goal for the church and its services. He didn't know what they were. So it appeared everyone was missing the main goal, and they couldn't work together without a common goal.
Vision is important! Your team needs to hear the vision of the church, understand it and determine how that vision relates to your short-term and long-term goals. If your team is not constantly hearing the vision, they will lose their will to support the church and will eventually leave. If they do stay, they will return to old habits and revisit past mistakes. To quote P.K. Bernard, "A man without a vision is a man without a future. A man without a future will always return to his past."
Use these two principles when creating vision:
Create a vision that is easy to remember.
"And the Lord answered me: "Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he who reads it may run" (Hab. 2:2). I'm not a theologian, but when I read this, I thought, Our vision needs to be easy to remember and give us the ability to read it on the run. Remember Nike's "Just Do It" slogan? In one line, Nike created a vision for the company and the customer. It pushed a vision of health and energy while inspiring consumers to buy Nike products.
Consult with others to build your vision.
"Without counsel, purposes are disappointed, but in the multitude of counselors they are established" (Prov. 15:22). It's wise to seek the counsel of many when building your vision. This helps you understand the culture and allows you to plan a vision that will resonate with the team.
Once you have built a vision, provide short-term and long-term markers or goals, attainable points to help your team see progress and point toward the vision. My wife created a promise book that became an inspiration to our family and me. We can pull out the book and see what we've accomplished as well as look toward our goals. It's a practical way to visualize our goals and encourage the entire family.
Problems may arise, though, in every vision and plan. Knowing that, how do you stay the course when those issues pop up? When you are sailing and need to stop and reassess your position, you must drop anchor to make sure the current doesn't take you off course. This applies in life as well. One day, I ran into some problems that disrupted my goal. I felt like the vision I had laid out was in jeopardy. My frustration turned to anger and started affecting my behavior. My son, who was barely 7, noticed and said, "Daddy, when I get frustrated, I hold on to something." He handed me his teddy bear and said, "Hold on to this, Daddy. It will help you feel better." I realized my 7-year-old had just taught me a valuable lesson: Having an anchor to hold on to is an important part of having a vision or goal.
When things get tough, the vision is blurry and the goal seems difficult, what do you hold on to? What guides you? TV, social networks, money, government, your pastor? One easy way to assess this is to think about what you do when you're tired, angry or don't have all the answers. You need to hold on to something daily and in the hard times.
The Bible should be our anchor. The Holy Spirit, who is our Comforter, should be our internal guide. In times of trouble, we can lean on God's Word and the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom and guidance.
Listen to the podcast to hear Dr. Steve Greene teach how to lead your team with the power of vision.
David Leuschner is the executive director of Digital Great Commission Ministries (audiovideolighting.com), a nonprofit organization that utilizes technology to reach the world for Christ. From 2006 to 2017, Leuschner served as senior director of technology and technical arts at Gateway Church. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram (both @davidleuschner).
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