All people protect things that matter to them. Be it a wedding ring, a picture drawn by a preschooler, a letter written by a grandparent or a Bible we’ve read for years. These items are important to us, so we cling to them. We know where they are. We don’t want them to get messed up, or worse, to get stolen.
The same should be true for leaders of local churches. We should naturally protect the things that matter to our church and its mission in the world. Due to a wide array of factors, however, we are all prone to leave things that matter to our church unprotected, and, when we do, these valuable assets get harmed, lost, or stolen.
We know how precious vision is to the church. Where there is no vision, people die and so do churches. Vision is precious and should be protected. Every church starts with a vision. Few finish with one. A new year gives us ample opportunity to reflect on and protect our church’s vision. How do we protect the vision over time? Well, below are five ways to protect the vision over time.
1. Make sure our vision is from God.
God’s vision comes through God’s revelation. We don’t invent the vision; we just discover it. If we truly believe this is not our vision, but His, it gives us the confidence we need to more boldly and consistently communicate it, but also defend it when it’s attacked. Ask yourself: “Do I really believe this vision is from God?”
2. Over-communicate the vision.
An annual vision talk is not going to get this done. We must communicate the vision—every day, every week and every month. Look for creative ways to talk about the vision. Celebrate the vision being accomplished often through the stories you tell. Keep the vision in front of people in every way possible.
3. Confront vision-drift quickly.
We must act when something or someone gives us a check in our spirit about moving in a given direction. When we see someone acting in a way that doesn’t support the vision, we need to be willing to have a courageous conversation sooner rather than later. Vision issues never go away on their own. They usually go from bad to worse over time! As leaders, there’s no room for cowards. We must confront vision-drift quickly!
4. Beware of vision hijackers.
We must daily protect the vision from vision hijackers. Hijacking is usually not something we think about happening to us, but it does. A vision hijacker can simply be a person that means well, but doesn’t understand what you’re trying to do. It can also be a person who has an agenda for your organization based on their preferences or past. People will knowingly or unknowingly try to take the wheel and steer us all in a different direction. If we give up the wheel, we surrender our leadership and our organization. We must courageously defend and protect the vision from being hijacked by others, even if it means being willing to let people go.
5. Live for an audience of one.
At the end of the day, God has not called us to be people pleasers. He has called us to please our Heavenly Father. We must be faithful to His vision! We must make every decision in an effort to please Him first and foremost! The apostle Paul said: “Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Gal 1:10 (NLT). What steps are you taking to protect the vision?
Published January 16, 2017