Does A Lack of Vision Cause Death?

May 14, 2012

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Without a vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) This verse is often quoted as inspiration to have faith or to dream. But, do people really die without one?

As we explore building a team culture through our series called “United We Move“, the first step in our journey is vision.

Vision is essential to moving a group forward. This is common sense. You cannot move a group somewhere unless you know where you are going. On this journey, there a few common mistakes which we make in the area of vision.

Mistake #1. Too Small

The vision needs to be big enough to inspire people to dream. If there is no difficulty in obtaining the vision, it is too small. A vision bigger than yourself or the others involved is what you are after. There should be risk involved as well as the potential to fail. This is the part that requires faith. If no faith is required, you do not have a vision, you have a project.

People want to be apart of something bigger than themselves. The greatest recruiting tool we have employed in Africa is to cast the vision. People commit to causes and a desire to a part of something they could not accomplish on their own.

Our ministry in Africa seeks to be a hub for Biblical Training in Africa. This is broad. This is sellable. If I recruit people to one of our projects, a Bible school, that is not as appealing. A vision is so much bigger than our own abilities to accomplish it.

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Mistake #2. Lack of Visibility

Bill Hybels says that vision needs to be restated or reminded once every 30 days.

This can be done through a number of vehicles. Have a mission statement. A clear concise statement of where you are going. Put it in the bulletins, recite it as a fun exercise, or paint it on the wall. Whatever you do, keep the vision before the people.

Did you ever wonder why the Bible repeats itself so much? It is because we are a stupid, forgetful people. Never underestimate the value of recasting the vision.

Mistake #3. Too General

A vision needs to be measurable, or it needs to inspire specific, measurable steps so people can see progress.

A vision of a small group to meet and study the Bible is too general. What about defining certain books to study? What about setting a goal to multiply the group? The cell group could rally around personal growth; measuring it through setting goals and having periods of evaluation.

Our team has long-term goals for 5 to 10 years, but each year we go through a process of evaluation and assessment. This provides opportunities to make sure we are on track.

Mistake #4 – Lack of Connection

One of the most important jobs of a leader is to navigate and remind people of how the details fit into the big picture. We must show how smaller goals lead the group closer to the vision.

This works in a family as well. In the fantastic book,The Three Big Questions for a Frantic Family, Patrick Lencioni advocates periodic rallying cries as a family. They are short-term goals leading the family forward in their vision.

My greatest job as a leader is to keep the plot in mind. Where are we heading? How will small decisions affect the long-term?

Too often as leaders we mortgage the long-term for short-term, temporal comfort and ease. Keeping the vision in mind, helps us to make hard decisions.

So do people literally dies without a vision? Perhaps.

You and I have heard of people losing the will to live. The same concept could be communicated with other words.

Without a vision, people become bored
Without a vision, people become lazy
Without a vision, people lose interest
Without a vision, people only dream as big as themselves.

To take a group of people somewhere, the vision must be:
– Big
– Kept before the people
– Specific and Measurable
– Connected to smaller goals, projects, and campaigns

Vision creates continuity, cooperation and cohesion. Vision takes people places.

What other mistakes have you made in regards to setting the vision for a group?

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God