And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.” (Hab. 2:2)
In Christian ministry, our vision, mission and values must communicate a clear way a ministry is seeking to impact the world for Jesus. Communicating a clear vision shares with the world that you are focusing on what matters to God, and have a clear plan to influence the world for Jesus. Crafting and casting a global vision is not an easy task but here are some questions and thoughts to consider.
1. How does being a Christian ministry impact the ways we identify and implement vision and mission?
As Christian leaders, we must seek to communicate a clear and concise vision that is shaped by the principles and lessons outlined throughout the Bible. If we are serving God and seeking his plan he will give us the vision and direction to follow.
2. What are some examples of biblical leaders implementing vision and mission well?
Some of the greatest vision-casting heroes are found in the Bible: Abraham Moses, Miriam, Ruth, Deborah, John the Baptist, the apostle John, Peter, and James, Paul, Phoebe, Lydia and, of course, Jesus. In their leadership, they were obedient to the call, made mistakes, stood the test, took a risk, worked hard, followed the plan and invited others to help. But all believed in the vision of a better future and invited others to join them in the journey.
3. Before you start, ask: What are mistakes leaders make when casting vision and communicating mission?
One of the greatest killers of creating and communicating an effective vision and mission is pride. We start to believe we have all the answers and are the keeper of the vision and mission, when all along the vison has come from God. He has chosen us to live out and follow-through on his plan for reaching the world for Christ.
Also, when creating and communicating the vision and mission we can forget to invite others into prayer and strategy building. We may take credit for the accomplishments, and cast blame for the challenges and obstacles.
Recently, when creating a vision for a rebranding, I was faced with some criticism. It was tempting to discount the critique. Yet, after a year into the new branding, I’m thankful that we invited others to the table in the process leading up to the transition. I have learned how important it is to have more input when making the essential decisions in rebranding transitions.
That leads me to another mistake leaders make during a transition or when casting vision for a new ministry. The mistake is to quit when difficulties arise or others disagree with you. In this time, wait. Sometimes God is testing our commitment to stay true to the God-given vision. God is testing our faith to believe that God will accomplish what he has promised, even through difficulties.
“Some of the greatest vision-casting heroes are found in the Bible …”
In many places in the Scriptures we see opposition to a leader’s God-given vision. Yet, perseverance brings power in the Holy Spirit, and power accomplishes the promises of God for the leader (Josh. 1:8; Neh. 1-3; Job 42:2; Rom. 8:28).
4. So, how can we practically develop a vision and mission?
- Pray: The process begins with prayer. We must seek God for his vision and mission for our ministries, and not our vision and mission for his ministry.
- Observe: To serve the world we must observe what is happening in the world. What are the needs? Where are the problems? What is the heart of God for the world? As we seek the Lord, he gives us the desire of our hearts. (Ps. 37:4)
- Write it down: It is important to write the vision and mission down. Write and re-write it over and over. Pray, seek him and write again. God will reveal the final vision and mission in the process.
When creating a vision for ministry, start on your knees before you put one marker to a white board to strategize a plan. Ministry vision is painting a picture that reflects a future that is dependent and surrendered to God, a God who is present and powerful enough to accomplish all his plans through our ministries. (2 Cor. 5:20)
Dr. Peggy Banks is Global Ministry Director for TWR Women of Hope. She has served in executive leadership and women’s studies within churches, nonprofit organizations and seminaries, with extensive experience in cross-cultural training. As an adjunct professor, she has taught classes on Women and Leadership, Women in the life of Christ, Role of Women in the Church and Pastoral Care for Victims and Survivors of Human Sex Trafficking.