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Vision for Your Ministry

The following article will be included in the Christian Leadership Alliance quarterly Outcomes Magazine. If you have not looked into Christian Leadership Alliance, we strongly recommend it for your organization.


The best response to any self-doubt is to determine the source of the vision for the ministry. – George Barna, The Power of Vision




One of the first things I ask an organization is what the vision of the ministry is. If a large paragraph of words is cited or they need to look it up, I already know it’s not utilized the way it needs to be. If it is concise and easy to recite, I know the vision is vital for the organization, and they are led by it in daily operations. 


Vision and mission are, in fact, two different things. Vision is defined as “a clear mental picture for a preferable future imparted by God” (Barna, The Power of Vision, pg. 28). Along with that, the mission defines how the organization will accomplish the vision within the specific industry and activities. 


Vision is why the ministry was created in the first place. It is the driving force for all of the goals, strategies, policies, and activities. Mission is how we get there.


Once the vision is clear and concise, it becomes the rubric for all decisions moving forward and empowers the team to make decisions that support the vision.

For example, let us consider an organization with the vision to become a hub for women’s resources in the area to guide them closer to Christ.


How a Vision Guides the Organization

The leadership of this organization is spending a weekend in strategic planning. As they consider the needs of the area, a team member comments on how men need to be taught how to be Christian fathers. Though this is an honorable focus, it does not fit within the lens of the vision.


During the same meeting, the team considers a Christian weekend pouring Biblical principles into the women they serve. This is a viable addition to the organization that is united with its vision.


How a Vision Empowers the Team

Leadership and team members who know the vision of the ministry have a strong anchor that identifies the areas where their focus should lie and where they need to decline in order to avoid vision drift. A team that is provided with a precise vision has greater confidence in making decisions without the need for constant oversight.


Suppose a client approaches the staff with an idea for a class or workshop on the topic of mental health care for women. If the organization offers educational resources, the staff can test the idea against the vision to know if it should be further considered. The course should be considered because it aligns with the vision of the organization. Teams with a sound vision have a tool to identify what aligns with the organization and what does not. This is a priceless Instrument for the team in their daily decisions.


Personally 

Not only are visions important for organizations, but they are effective in one’s personal life as well. I know the Lord has given me a passion and vision for empowering His ministries to be as successful as possible in striving to serve the world. Early on, a friend asked me to put on a fundraising event for a secular educational foundation. I have talent and experience in fundraising events, and though it might be an excellent cause, I declined in order to stay focused on the vision that the Lord gave me.


As all of us grow in leadership, more people will seek your help and service. They observe your skills and know you can help their organizations. Seeking the Lord to identify your personal vision statement allows you to make clear decisions about the areas you wish to pour into and give your energy to. Saying yes to many requests leads to burnout and fatigue. Personal vision statements allow you to stay within healthy boundaries in your life.


God is the Author

Above all else, vision statements should be authored by God. Submitting to His will for your life and organization provides peace, fulfillment, and divine direction. Spend time alone with the Lord and seek His wisdom and His direction. 

 

I have Habakkuk 2:3 posted on my desk as a beautiful reminder from the Lord to remain true to the vision He has given me.


For the vision is yet for the appointed time;

            It hastens toward the goal, and it will not fail.

            Though it tarries, wait for it;

            For it will certainly come, it will not delay. – Habakkuk 2:3 NASB


Dr. Ashley Graves

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