When I was in second grade, I remember that the school I was attending was giving all students eye exams. I remember stepping up to the line and was asked to tell the person by me which direction the letter “E” was facing on each line. I got the first two lines right but couldn’t discern the lines below that. It was the first time I realized I had a vision problem. Not long after that I went to the eye doctor and was fitted for a new pair of glasses. Since then I have always worn corrective lenses. As I have had the opportunity to work with churches all across Missouri, I realized that many have a vision problem. George Barna researched churches and concluded that less than one out of every ten pastors can articulate what he believes is God’s vision for the church he is leading. If over 75% of churches are plateaued or in decline, what does this say about vision? I believe doing the hard work of clearly articulating your mission, defining your values, and understanding your community can help bring about a clear vision for your local congregation. Aubrey Malphurs defined a vision as a clear, compelling picture of God’s future for your church as you believe it can and must be. Having a clear vision is valuable. Without clarity regarding the future, it is difficult to effectively lead a team, organization, or congregation forward toward accomplishing what God has called them to do. While mission defines what we must do, vision is visual and gives us a picture of where we must go. Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you just might end up somewhere else.” It is important to pray and seek the Lord to help you as a leader develop a picture of a preferred future. Next week I will share some keys to developing a God inspired vision.
– Dr. Gary Mathes