The Ingredients of a Vision
If we define a vision as a clear mental picture or image of a preferable future imparted by God to His chosen servants and is based on an accurate understanding of God, self and circumstances… then we can work at understanding the concept of vision a little further by looking at each of these components.
1> A Clear Mental Picture
Vision is a picture held in your mind’s eye of the way things could or should be in the days ahead. Vision connotes a visual reality, a portrait of conditions that do not exist currently. This picture is internalized and always seems personal. It is never someone’s else’s vision – it is , in reality, God’s vision for the church you are in and your ministry within that church and through that church into the world of the unsaved. It is not somebody else’s view of the future but one that uniquely belongs to you because it is about your ministry.
So, you need to have a clear picture in mind. A fuzzy perspective is not vision. A vague view of what is to happen or will one day exist is not vision.Your mental picture will be really sharp for your role in the church and your ministry. And, unless you are the senior leader, your vision of the future church will be less sharp, crisp, or detailed – you will simply see enough to know where you fit.
2> A Preferable Change
If it is dealing with what is preferable then we are insinuating that vision entails change. Vision is never about maintaining the status quo. vision is always about stretching reality to extend beyond the existing state. This always involves change. With this in mind, remember then that vision is required even when the church is in a good position; vision is not just for those churches that are struggling with their present state.
To create a better situation in which to minister, you can either rely upon random circumstance and hope that the result is better than what has existed, or you can assert control over your environment, based on God’s empowerment and direction, and make a better future. Vision is about pursuing the latter approach.
3> A Future Focus
Vision always focuses on and concentrates on the future. It focuses on thinking ahead rather than on dwelling upon or seeking to replicate the past. The means to success in your ministry and your church’s ministry is to focus upon God and to be committed fully to His vision for your ministry where you live, work, and play and to what He will do with you and through you in the future.
4> An Impartation By God
Vision for ministry is a reflection of what God wants to accomplish through you to build His Kingdom. Rather than rely upon the abilities of humans to concoct a view of, and to plan for, the future, God conveys His view of that future to you. The future of the Church and of the people whom God has placed upon the Earth are simply too important to Him to allow people to lean on their own innate abilities and talents to develop half-baked schemes for reaching their neighbors and the world.
While He allows us ample latitude and creativity to articulate, disseminate and implement the vision, make no mistake about it: vision comes from God and only from God.
5> A Chosen Leader
When it comes to your ministry to the unsaved in the world – you are the chosen leader. be faithful and the ministry will grow as you grow and you will soon find others joining you in your outreach and ministry. Even then, the vision is your vision and will be received by you. And, any changes and improvements that need to be made will come directly from God to you first as the leader.
In the local church leadership is critical. And, God has chosen certain people to be the leaders – and each leadership team has a leader. This “point person” is the one to whom God reveals the fullness and details of the vision. Other team members in the leadership with receive some of the details and a sense of the direction things need to go in; but, the details and the clear vision is always given to the point person.
Only THE leader knows fully what to do with the vision. Only THE leader can marshal the resources necessary to bring life to the vision. God chooses those leaders carefully and provides each of them with a vision tailored to his or her circumstances.
6> Comprehending God
In the definition of vision, God is listed first among the sources of insight and among those realities that we must seek to fully comprehend. We are striving to capture an understanding of His will for our ministry and our lives based upon His perspective. He is first and foremost in the vision process.
7> Knowing yourself
In developing vision, you must know your own abilities, gifts, limitations, values, and desires before you can accurately arrive at a perspective on His vision for your life and ministry as well as the church. Vision is not an exercise in promoting yourself, your dreams or your needs. It involves integrating your personal abilities and limitations within God’s plan to accomplish what needs to be done through His chosen people – including you.
8> Understanding your circumstances
Dreams shun reality; vision builds upon it. God’s vision for your life and thus your ministry is sensitive to the operational environment He has called you to influence. While He will not limit your potential by suggesting future reality cannot grow beyond past or present reality, He is the God of consistency and order, not a God of chaos and confusion.
You must, therefore, have a firm grasp on existing and potential needs, conditions, competition, opportunities, barriers and potential if you wish to absorb His vision for your ministry and your church.
So, as we have finished detailing the definition we are using for vision … remember that, in using this definition, you recognize that it is a process of applied, pragmatic imagination. It is an articulated intention to do something significant and unique, creating a new reality that improves upon that which exists today, a new world ordained by God for His people to bring to life. And, it needs your commitment and serious involvement if it is ever to become a reality.
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