A lot of people have great vision. But youll never see your vision become a reality unless you communicate it well to others. Many great God-given dreams die in the vision-casting stage. In fact, there are seven particular things you need to make sure your people understand in the process of sharing your vision with them.
1. Who you are. Whats your church about? Every church should fulfill the five biblical purposes of worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and evangelism. But how you fulfill the purposes depends upon the distinct nature of your church. What makes your church unique? People arent the only ones with a particular shape; whole churches have them as well. When youre communicating vision to your church, youve got to help people see how your church is unique.
2. Where you are going. Besides communicating your identity, you need to communicate the churchs direction and goals. Leadership is influence, and the quickest way to tell if youre a leader is to look over your shoulder. If somebodys following you, youre a leader. If nobodys following you, youre not the leader. Its that simple. The moment you have to tell people, Im the leader! youre not. Leadership is knowing where youre going and being able to persuade people to come along with you. Thats influence. If you dont know where youre going, nobody else will, and nobodys going to follow you. To communicate vision, youve got to communicate where youre going.
3. Why you are going there. Once weve communicated where were going, weve got to tell our congregations why were going there. At Saddleback we do this through Class 101. A membership class is a great place to communicate the why of what youre doing. People will have a hard time following you to where God wants you to go if they dont understand the motivation behind it.
4. What it feels like to be going there. People want to be in on fun and they want to be fulfilled. No one wants to be left out of excitement. To get people behind your vision, you need to communicate to people how fulfilling it will be to join God in what hes doing through your church. People are looking for significance. Youve got to let people know theyll find significance by investing their lives in seeing Gods kingdom expand.
5. What people can do. As a part of vision-casting you need to help individuals in your church see what they can do. Everybody will need to play his or her part in realizing the vision of the church. Youll need to give your congregation practical and immediate parts they can play in the process. Youve got to help them see that their individual ministry contributes the progress of the whole. A good leader does that.
6. How youre going to do it. Share with your congregation how youre going to move forward. Be specific. As soon as you share your vision for your church, people will want to know how youre going to do it. Let them in on the strategy. Its going to help the vision become more reachable in the minds of your congregation.
7. What the rewards will be. Tell your church what the benefits will be for fulfilling the vision that God has for you. Focus on the spiritual and emotional benefits. What will it be like when Jesus tells you, well done good and faithful servant? Thats the most important reward well get from doing what God calls us to do.
Vision-casting is an important part of your role as a pastor. God has a vision for your church. Your job is to help your parishioners get behind that vision. Youll need to communicate these seven things when you do that.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life and The Purpose-Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers. Copyright 2005 Pastors.com, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.