Many leaders know how to cast their vision, but do they know how to help others discover vision of their own? One important aspect of the ongoing work of a church planter is helping people discover and live with vision. This means helping the people of your church, and especially the leaders of your church, gather an awareness of what is, what’s coming, and what could be. Why is this so important? So, often we get stuck in the ruts of life. We fail to see beyond what is right in front of us. We are busy, tired, and lack creativity. We are surrounded by noise.
What helps us get unstuck? What helps us tap into creativity? What helps us tune our ears to the work of God among us and the leading of the Holy Spirit within us? Vision. Slowing down enough to consider what is, what’s coming, and what could be. To gather vision is to ask: God what do you want for my day today? What is? What’s coming? What could be? What do you want for my week? What do you want for my month? What is happening this month? What’s coming into my life this month? What could be this month if I tuned my ears to your voice and yielded my life to your will?
Very few people are slowing down to do this on their own. This is why it’s critical that we do the ongoing work of helping people live with vision– especially leaders!
This is incredibly important the further into church planting you get. In the early days all there is to be excited about is vision. As your church starts maturing things get real. When things get real (real people, real issues, real challenges, real disappointments), we often get stuck.
Take my church, Redeemer, for example. We are 7 years old. About 2-3 years ago I realized that if we are going to have a disciple-making culture, we could no longer just cast the vision of the church as a whole, but we had to start helping our people (especially our leaders) establish vision in their lives. If the church was going to accomplish it’s vision, the people who make up the church must embody it in their everyday life– in unique and personal ways. This sent me on a journey to restructure the way I lead our staff, coached and trained our leaders, and think about discipleship as a whole. Empowering people with the gospel and in their God given gifts became central to my leadership.
I try and do this with people at every level at Redeemer. With our staff team we do an excessive every week called a “Monthly Window”, where each person takes 30 minutes to prayerfully listen for God to speak into their ministry month. This leads to empowerment, ownership, and accountability. With deacons and missional community leaders we pull them together every quarter for meeting we call “Leadership Collective” where we cast vision for the church as a whole, and also make space for them to pray/dream about their specific areas of leadership. They contribute and help shape the direction. With those I am discipling personally I am trying to ask good questions to help them think about what is and what could be in their family, career, and relationship with God.
To help others live with vision takes coaching skills. I had to learn to ask questions that drew things out of people. I had to be okay with doing more asking and less telling. But most importantly it takes a conviction. A conviction that people/leaders aren’t there to serve your church’s vision, but you are there to serve Jesus’s church (his blood bought, dearly loved, missionary family). It’s my job as a pastor to help people see what is in light of the gospel, what’s coming in light of their identity in Christ, and what could be in light of their God given gifts, passion, and opportunity.