Vision matters for anyone in ministry. Vision motivates you and your church to action and effectiveness. Vision clarifies what matters most by captivating people towards a yet unseen future. But oftentimes there are vision deficiencies plaguing pastors and churches.
Let’s face it. Your vision is not always perfect. But if you evaluate your vision in light of these 10 deficiencies, you may uncover a few opportunities for improving your vision in the days ahead.
10 Vision Deficiencies Plaguing Pastors and Churches
1) Vision lacks the size that requires reliance on God.
You might have a very clear vision. You may have worked on it for months…but it doesn’t inspire anyone.
This might be because your vision isn’t big enough. Your vision should encapsulate the God-sized dreams God has laid on your heart. It should feel impossible without a supernatural act of God.
2) The vision paints no picture of the future.
Usually the culprit here is that a church has taken their mission and written it down as their vision. Having a mission or vision statement written down won’t do very much for your church. Captivating your people to live on mission as they strive to realize a big vision is far greater than having something written on paper.
However, saying that your vision is to make disciples is not a vision. This is your mission, and leaves your church without a vivid picture of how the future will be different if you do in fact make disciples. Ensure your vision is painting a picture of your future and the impact you will make.
3) The vision lacks church-wide buy-in.
Did you create a church-wide vision in a vacuum without input from others? Did you surprise your leaders?
Take time to engage others in the process. Seek God’s guidance as a team. Listen to the Holy Spirit. Let Him clarify your vision for not only you as the pastor, but also the entire team.
4) The vision lacks a roadmap forward.
Vision without implementation or a strategic operations plan is nothing more than a child daydreaming in elementary school. It has all the vividness of the future and no tangible plan for execution.
5) The vision seems easy or simply attainable.
If the vision sounds like what you’ve done before and it doesn’t stretch you, it is deficient. Vision should push you to rely on God and wonder if it is possible. Don’t clarify your vision based on past results rather than future dreams.
6) The vision gets filed away on a paper, in a filing cabinet, or on your laptop.
Spending the time clarifying your church’s vision makes no sense if you allow yourself to ignore it afterwards.
Who will hold you accountable to implement your plans going forward? How will you create a culture of discipleship multiplication that is propelled by a hunger and excitement for your God-given vision?
7) Your vision hasn’t been changed in 5-10 years.
This may not necessarily be a deficiency if the vision was created with incredible foresight and big dreams. But regardless, churches should come back and evaluate the relevance of any vision clarity process at least every few years.
Our world changes. Your congregation will change. Your ministry philosophy may have changed. Don’t leave your vision behind.
8) Your vision is an add-on, not the priority.
When your vision is the priority you make decisions to cut activities that don’t realize that vision. You utilize your vision as a lens or criteria for evaluating what you do.
Don’t let your vision be an add-on that gets ignore by most. It should captivate you and your church as you commit to it being the future that God has laid on your hearts.
9) Your vision doesn’t infect all parts of the church.
Pastors should preach on vision. They should talk about vision in side conversations. They should create videos about the vision of the future and also work to get others excited about the vision.
Ask yourself what parts of the church your vision hasn’t clearly infected yet. Then get to work infusing vision clarity into that ministry area.
10) Your vision points inward at the expense of missional impact.
Any church whose vision points exclusively or mostly inward risks irrelevance in the community and creates an unholy huddle separated from the world.
Did I just describe all or part of your church? Be honest.
Make sure your vision is dripping with clear descriptions of the missional impact you and your church will have in the community and world in the days ahead.
Which of these deficiencies most accurately describes your church? How do you plan to address them? Make sure to resist vision complacency as you serve in the days ahead. To do so would be like keeping a malignant mole on your foot when you know you could go and get it cut off. None of us would do that, because it could mean a death sentence if we ignored it. Don’t do that with deficiencies in your church vision either or else these deficiencies could grow and leave you with a sick and dying church and vision in the future.
Brad Bridges is the Vice President of the Malphurs Group, the premier boutique church consulting firm. He is a leadership coach and strategy consultant at the Malphurs Group, blogger at bradbridges.net, husband to Lindsey, and father of 3. Contact the Malphurs Group team for questions about church vision consulting, strategic operations planning, or to simply get to know our church consulting firm. | @bradbridges | Website