Vision This blog has more to do with self-realization than vision, so bear with me. After attending two three-and-a-half day conferences with two very different emphases, I have come to realize something intrinsic about myself. In order for this church plant to succeed, I need to create a compelling vision. Period. After listening to several voices over the last couple of weeks, I have been convicted that I need to create an intentional, thoughtful, vision. I listened to church planters such as Ed Stetzer (www.edstetzer.com), Jeff Vanderstelt (www.somatacoma.org), to parachurch ministries such as 3DM (www.weare3dm.com) and I get excited by their visions. Their visions are razor sharp and cut into the hearts and lives of thousands.
I see at least two challenges when developing a similar type razor-sharp vision. First, creating focused vision does not mean using existing visions. Focusing on a vision does not mean being able to do it all! My inclusive side wants to remain open to various options.
That brings me to the second challenge. For those of you who have taken Clifton’s Strengthsfinder, you’ll be familiar with what I am about to explain. My top 5 strengths are ‘woo’ (winning others over), adaptability, inclusivity, positivity, and maximize. Each of these strengths has shadow sides to them, but my “positivity” side doesn’t want to focus on them right now. These strengths are helpful for a church planter. However, when taken together, particular patterns arise. One predominant pattern is described in this picture:
When my strengths are in order, I enter a room totally focused on my external surroundings: what people are thinking, doing, saying. I attempt to engage in conversation with people and to adapt to my surroundings. It’s important to me to remain positive. Because I want to win people over (and happily was given the gift by God to do so with relative ease), I share jokes and attempt to foster positive conversation.
But the challenge before me as a church leader is to lead with a compelling vision and not allow it to become sabotaged by people along the way. My democratic leaning will want others to speak into the vision, and my adaptability side will allow me to be swayed. Of course, I’m not suggesting that I should become a dictator. I must remain flexible. But I must also do the deep intentional work of what it means to have a compelling vision that will direct the movement moving forward. There is no one else at this point, and so I have no choice but to present something to people that is worth following. It’s an exciting opportunity but a challenge nonetheless. So someone wiser than I helped me see how to strategically use my God- given strengths to hone vision and at the same time also bring people along into that vision. So rather than think of vision like the picture above, the challenge is too look at it from another perspective:
This self-revelation has been very important to discover. In seminary, we were taught to know thyself. Know thyself. That’s an intriguing challenge, but it has taken me years to figure out. My prayer is that God will continue to mold me and make me in order to lead with a compelling vision that gives glory to Him. What vision has God given you? Is He pushing and prodding you to find your place and purpose with a vision that will draw others into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ?