Have you ever had a goal? A vision?
The word “visionary” is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
: having or showing clear ideas about what should happen or be done in the future
: having or showing a powerful imagination
Think about some true visionaries from throughout history and our culture… What do they all have in common? It’s not necessarily resources (before their success at least). It isn’t a certain level of education. It’s not a location, race, gender, or economic class. Really their similarity isn’t a person, or a place… it is a thing. They all share a passion, a dedication, or a drive to cast a vision and to pursue it relentlessly until it happens or their vision is altered. True visionaries work towards accomplishing their ideas, goals, and visions. If they hadn’t taken steps towards achieving their goals and visions we would merely call them dreamers or idealists… but they did.
You may be asking…
Why are we talking about visionaries? How is this important to my ministry?
Well… you know I am going to tell you. The church in America is in need of a revival. We have gotten so complacent in remaining exactly the way that we have been that often times tradition has leapfrogged right ahead of Jesus without us even taking notice. Who are we? Why do we do the things we do? I would dare to say that the average church-goer has no idea of the vision or desired direction of the church that they attend. Some churches in their entirety might not have ever nailed down a vision… or certainly not made it known enough to work towards achieving or accomplishing it!
If our vision has been to stay exactly where we are, and to always have comfort and a security blanket then I think 90% of us have been successful! Awesome! Go us!
I’m being harsh here… but how do we ever expect to truly be effective if we aren’t organized and working towards the same desired goal. Vision is important. Goals are necessary. Helen Keller was quoted saying that, “The most pathetic person in the world is some one who has sight but no vision.” One of my favorite NFL coaches named Tony Dungy talks quite a bit about casting vision and setting goals that inspire people to better themselves for a greater cause. Tony Dungy says:
The first step toward creating an improved future is developing the ability to envision it. Vision will ignite the fire of passion that fuels our commitment to do whatever it takes to achieve excellence. Only vision allows us to transform dreams of greatness into the reality of achievement through human action. Vision has no boundaries and knows no limits. Our vision is what we become in life.
Develop a vision for yourself. Develop a vision for your ministry. It will change who you are and the way you do things. It will unite and enable people to accomplish a decided goal. Things don’t necessarily become easier with a set vision, but they do become more understandable and focused in light of a defined greater purpose.
Here are some thoughts about being a visionary within your ministry:
- Seek the Lord
Too often I have “visions” that aren’t of the Lord… they are actually just my desires and I am doing my best to justify them using the banner of Christ. Sometimes we pursue ourselves and our own wants mistakenly without even knowing it. It’s too easy for me to say that, “God wants my ministry to write and record hit songs to be used by churches all over the world.” When in reality that is what I want and God’s plans may be entirely different than mine.
Trust the Lord. Seek the Lord. Pursue the Lord.
It is so easy to say… but much harder to do. Let us seek God first and allow His vision to become our own and then let’s see that vision through until the end.
- Get others involved… Share your vision
Stop signs would be pretty useless if they were camouflaged… something that isn’t seen, heard, or known about might as well not exist. The same goes for a vision… a vision in leadership should be visibly clear and understood by the entire congregation of a church. It does no good to have wonderful visions if they are kept secret. When asking a random church member, they should be able to say in a few short sentences what the mission of the church is, and it should be visibly obvious and evident. This allows people to focus where there needs to be focusing and it also encourages servant-hood. A vision of the church should be something that the church can live into and come along beside. We aren’t meant to do “church” alone… include other people in your vision and see how much farther it can go. As a minister not only are you a shepherd… but you are also an enabler. Enable people to serve and accomplish purposes that are far greater than themselves. You never know… they might become part of your vision.
- Pray. Pray. Pray.
Obvious right? But, prayer is vital to our ministries and visions. We must saturate our entire lives and all that we do with prayer. If we even stand a chance at discerning the ideas and desires that the world throws at us then we must be in constant conversation with the Father.
Want to hear from God? Pray.
Want to see lives changed? Pray.
Want to develop a Godly vision? Pray.
Develop a vision, work towards it, and pray it in!
- Pursue your vision out of faith
Not all visions are easy. God doesn’t grant us all with the glamorous visions and plans that we would hope for, and we should thank Him for that! Some of us will have to give up a lot to pursue God and the vision He has given us for our lives. It won’t be comfortable, it won’t be glamorous, or self-glorifying… but it will be worth it. Step out on faith and pursue God relentlessly. Chase the vision that God has given you!
- Do not give up!
Not all visions given by God are a walk in the park. Some will last a lifetime and we may die before seeing our vision fulfilled. Look at Moses… he delivered the Israelites with a vision of redemption and seeing the Promised Land, and although He was able to see the Promised Land from Mount Nebo before he died he was never actually able to set foot within it. Moses did his part, and eventually his vision was fulfilled and came to pass. Set short term and long-term goals to keep yourself motivated and pursuing a larger purpose. Rejoice in your successes and regroup after your failures… but always press on.
So… what is the vision God has given you? What are you doing to accomplish that vision?