The Deeper Dimension Of Effective Vision Casting

By Joel Southerland

“Somewhere along the way the vision has been lost.”
Aubrey Malphurs and Gordon Penfold in Re:Vision The Key to Transforming Your Church

If people can’t see what God is doing,
  they stumble all over themselves;
Proverbs 29:18 The Message

Leading evangelistic pastors know how to cast vision. But to truly “rally the troops” around reaching their communities, these pastors are able to access a deeper dimension of vision casting that most pastors never fully deploy.

Does casting vision for them mean they know how to craft a catchy slogan?  

Actually, yes. But it also means much more than that.

Vision statements, vision paragraphs, catchphrases and slogans have been around for a while in church world. They’re so ubiquitous we would feel our ministry is incomplete without one.

It’s not unusual for a pastor to have a committee that works on the vision statement for months, if not years. When they’re finished, the vision document is photocopied for the church and distributed for all to peruse. In the next meeting, a vote is cast and the vision document becomes part of the official record of the church. It is then displayed in the bulletin (if it is concise enough to do so), posted in the front of the church on a vinyl banner, and of course, delivered in a sermon.

And then it’s never thought of again.

Somewhere along the way, church leaders somehow got the idea that a vision was a task to be completed. It became the philosophical version of the church portico; lots of thought went into it, it looks nice on the exterior, but has little effect on what happens inside week-to-week.

So what we’re left with is a plethora of vision statements and very little vision.

Don’t get me wrong, vision statements are fine.  

But vision statements should be born out of real vision by passionate leadership, not out of obligation by an assigned committee.

Will Mancini deals with this in his book God Dreams. He gives a step-by-step guide to building a vision for your church. When discussing it on his blog, he said this:

When it comes to vision statements, many church leaders have lost interest. And for good reason–most vision statements are generic and useless. I like to say that your church really doesn’t need a vision statement, it needs a visionary state of mind.

Yet, there needs to be a way to cultivate that state of mind. Your team does need some ideas on paper to become a sort of “mental charging station” for themselves and other leaders.  

Think of a vivid vision statement as “base camp” for the team to assemble around, in order to take “vision casting treks” and “meaning excursions” all day long; that is the daily work of ministry. (Read more.)

Consider the concept: “visionary state of mind.” That’s exactly the kind of leadership you find in most top evangelistic churches.  

Get around their leadership and you’ll find vision drips off the pastor, staff and members daily. You hear it in their conversations. You see it in their actions. You sense it when you’re in their presence.

The feeling of going through the daily and weekly motions of church work is largely absent. The sense of “we don’t know what to do so we’ll invent ministry widgets to crank out” doesn’t exist there.

The people leading these churches are on a clear mission.

And clear mission is the result of clear vision.  

You’ll find it common in top evangelistic churches that their leaders hold in their hearts a passionate vision for themselves, their church, their community and the kingdom of God.

Pastor, when was the last time you revisited the vision for your ministry?

Now may be a good time to grab your Bible and one of the books below and spend some time getting a fresh vision from God on what your church should, and can, be about.

Here are some questions for reflection:

  • What kind of experience do you want someone to have who walks in your door for the first time?
  • What kind of impact do you want to make in your community for the kingdom?
    • What is the distinct gift-set of your church that can be cultivated and leveraged for bigger community impact?
    • What reputation do you want your church to have?
    • How many do you believe can be brought to Christ in a year at your church?

Get clear on these answers, marry that clarity with kingdom-ignited passion, and you’ve begun to create real vision that can lead to lasting kingdom results in your church. 

For further reading check out:
Church Unique by Will Mancini
Re:Vision by Aubrey Malphurs

Published May 30, 2018

Joel Southerland

Joel is the Executive Director of Evangelism at the North American Mission Board