Vision Clarity

For years, I felt this massive guilt about my lack of pastoral vision. It wasn't that I didn't try. At least a couple of times a year, I've gone away for a personal visioning retreat -- and usually come back with something less than inspiring.

Now, all the writers and motivational speakers say that an effective church must have a visionary leader. Over the years, there have been several board and staff meetings where they've tried to squeeze a little vision juice out of me -- but to no avail.

I'm not wired to make up a vision. (In weak moments, I can relate to George Bush Sr.'s lament, "I just don't get this vision thing!")

But then, a liberating thought hit me. I DON'T HAVE TO MAKE UP A VISION!!

Vision is not something you MAKE UP -- It is something you SEE!
In fact, when someone makes up visions -- they're hallucinating!

Instead of praying, "Lord, help me create a vision for our church", I've simply started praying the blind beggar's prayer: "Lord, help me see!"


Pat Hannon said…
I think you're on to something here, Mark.

For a long time I've been convinced that the senior pastor's role is not to go off on his own (usually it is a he that tries this) and come back with the vision for the church. Rather, the pastor's role is to listen for what God is doing among the congregation AND GIVE VOICE TO IT.

Vision best comes from the bottom up rather than the top down. We get to be the ones who says "Look what God is doing here. Let's all get on board with it!"

Often, the people will need little convincing because we are giving voice to what God is already revealing among the people.
Steve Gerich said…
You may find this "new view" just as frustrating, especially if you cannot "see it" (the vision that is already there) In many ways, all churches are called to the same things....Go and make disciples.....teaching them to obey.", "clothe the poor, feed the hungry, heal the sick", etc. How we do it is not as important as THAT we do it. Even in our unclear vision, the Holy Spirit is working in us and through us.
Anonymous said…

Did you ever stop to think how much money people are making by convincing all leaders (pastors) that they have to go to a vision retreat to get their vision?

Believe me VISION is within your people already.
Steve Gerich said…
What do we need to teach?
What does the congregation need to experience?
What area's are weak and need strengthening?
What holes exist?
How can our strengths be built upon and stretched?
What one bold thing is worth pursuing?
Is there anything we need to let go of?
What can deepen faith and motivate to action?
Anonymous said…
Mark, You reccommended "IT" and I am in the middle of reading the book. (See how I did not use "it")Anyway from listening to you and from what I hear about the Hayward church you guys have it and that means you, and the leadership team, have set the vision for the church. BIG D

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