The Staying Power of Vision

Strategic Planning

For more than a decade, I have asked members of churches about their experience with “vision.” Often, their initial response involves rolling their eyes and shaking their heads. It seems like everyone has had a negative experience with “vision.”

So why is vision casting still so popular?

In its most basic form, vision is a verbal description of a church’s preferred future. When vision is shared, it becomes a powerful impetus for change. Shared vision provides clarity and focus, inspires action and aligns activities. Vision gives leaders credibility. It even helps organizations be better stewards of resources.

Here are five thoughts on the staying power of vision casting.

When vision casting works, it really works.   

Most churches have one story of successful vision casting. Church members repeat the narrative of their church’s initial vision, a church of their denomination for people in a specific community. Some churches will have a second vision story, a story of revitalization. When vision works, it really works.

Church members want to know where their congregation is headed.

I have identified three different categories of church members when it comes to responded to vision. One group is energized by vision because they understand where the church is headed. Another group is reassured by vision because the fact the church is intentionally going somewhere is reassuring. The final group doesn’t care about vision.

Vision inspires hope.

When members of a church lose hope for a future, the church’s days are numbered. It may take months or even years to close, but it will close. Vision can inspire hope. When vision inspires hope it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The vision provides a mental picture of a better future and members start to live into that better future.

Vision can help align ministries.

Church members become quite frustrated when their church is very busy, yet seemingly not accomplishing anything. They want to see how all the activity and resources are leading somewhere. Vision helps align all that activity. Congregations with alignment are better stewards of resources than church without alignment. Vision helps leaders identify which ministries to support and which programs to drop.

Vision can help attract new members.

When unchurched residents are looking for a church home, they look for congregations they can trust. This is one reason churches meeting in rental facilities are not as attractive to potential members as churches owning their own facilities. Vision can go a long way in persuading guests and visitors that a church has a future.

Why do you think vision remains so powerful for organizations, despite all the evidence of vision casting failing? Share your thoughts in the comments or shoot me an email. Additional posts in this series include:

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