as new articles are posted

Archives For Vision

Leaders are visionaries.  They think big, dream big and plan big.  But sometimes the “big” doesn’t happen the way they envision.  So they experience a “big” disappointment.

I don’t want to imply that big is bad, hey I don’t want to follow a leader that doesn’t think big.  But one of the sides of big we don’t think about very often is, big results come with big responsibility. And big responsibility must be stewarded by someone with big character and big competencies.

If a pastor prays that his church will grow to one thousand people then he better have the competency and character it requires to lead a church of level of complexity.  If an entrepreneur wants to expand his business from 1 to 5 franchises then he better have the character required to handle the added pressures and the competency to scale to that size.

Sometimes I think God doesn’t give us “bigger” results because we don’t have the character or competency yet to steward the bigger responsibility. Don’t get in too big a hurry to get to big. And make sure you’re focusing on growing yourself as much as you are growing your organization.

Do members of your team need to sharpen their vision casting skills?  Use the following module to engage in a dynamic discussion and watch development happen right in front of your eyes.


  1. Give 2-4 members of your team a copy of this training module.  (Don’t ask more than 4 people.  The more people you include the less impact it will have on them individually.)
  2. Ask them to do each of the assignments before you meet back together as a group.
  3. When you meet together your role is to simply ask the questions provided and help them debrief what they are learning.  Use your experience to speak into their learning but only after you’ve drawn out their thoughts and learnings first.  During the discussion stay focused by continually referring back to the competency you’re trying to help them develop:  Communicate vision in way that it sticks with and is passed on by others

Competency:  Communicate vision in way that it sticks with and is passed on by others

Assignment #1

Read Passage 
Matthew 28:16-20

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

  • What is significant about the timing and location of Jesus meeting with the eleven disciples?
  • In three short sentences, Jesus gave what has become known as the Great Commission. What is the significance of each of these sentences?
  • Which of the sentences would’ve meant the most to you if you were one of the disciples standing there with Jesus at that time? Why?

Assignment #2

Listen to Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast (CLICK HERE TO LISTEN)

Answer the following questions:

  • How would you grade yourself as a vision caster?  A-B-C-D or F?  Why?
  • What impressed you about Frank’s initial actions as new CEO of Home Depot?
  • How would it change the way you lead if you inverted the leadership pyramid of your organization or department?  Write out specific ways.
  • In what ways is your vision complex, non-portable and difficult to repeat?  What do you need to do to make it Simple, Portable and Repeatable?
  • Frank told several stories throughout the podcast, which one stood out to you the most?  Why?  What leadership principle did you take away from that story?  (Write out 2-3 specific principles)
  • Write down specific ways you are setting, living and celebrating the vision of your organization or department?

Assignment #3

Share a story with your team members that illustrates your vision.  Share it in a way that is simple, portable and repeatable.

  • What story did you share with your team?  Why did you share that particular story?
  • What outcome do you hope this story will have in their beliefs and behaviors?
  • What was their response?

Assignment #4

Work in a position you normally don’t serve in with your organization and write down observations of your experience.

  • What did I experience?
  • How did it impact my perspective on the overall vision?
  • How did it impact my perspective on those serving in that role?
  • What ideas did it generate for me?
  • How did others respond to seeing me serving in that role?

I hope you find this module helpful.  After you use it with your team let me know how it went.

As a church planter, I was constantly seeking to learn from those who had gone ahead of me. But as I listened to these seasoned planters I often found myself filled with “Vision Envy.” Do you know what I mean? You listen to another visionary, and suddenly your vision seems too small, too insignificant or too bland. That’s when we’re tempted to “borrow” part of their vision, or add elements to our vision that God never intended us to include. While it’s a great practice to listen to and learn from other visionaries, we must be aware of the traps of Vision Envy.

Trap #1 – You miss the unique vision God has called you to accomplish in your community. In my friend Will Mancini’s book Church Unique, he provides an exercise you can use with your team to identify the unique calling of your church. He calls this your Kingdom Concept. Your Kingdom Concept consists of Your Local Predicament, Collective Potential, and Apostolic Esprit. These three things working together help you answer the question: What will our church do better than 10,000 others? When you can answer that you are well on your way to discovering God’s unique vision for your church.

Trap #2 – You’re overcome with a sense of inferiority. My friend, Chip Judd says, “Comparison is the root of all inferiority.” Comparing your vision with the vision of another planter will not lead to a healthy perspective. But if you learn transferable principles from their vision its a win.

I was meeting with a visionary leader recently and was blown away by the size of his vision. Immediately “vision envy” crept into my soul, but once I recognized it, I was able to celebrate his vision and learn from his visioning ability. Listening to him lead me to ask myself a new set of questions, challenged me to think deeper about the measures of my vision and refine the way I share my vision.

Trap #3- You stop looking to God as the source of vision. Rather than spending time in solitude seeking the heart of God, we surf the Internet in an attempt to scheme up a bigger and better vision. There is no greater vision than the one God speaks directly into your heart, no matter how big or how small.

It’s a valuable practice to listen to the vision of other church planters. Just make sure you don’t fall to the traps of Vision Envy. There’s nothing more powerful than being given a vision straight from the heart of God. Moses spent hours in the Tent of Meeting face to face with God. This discipline gave him the fortitude to endure the times when the vision of the Promise Land seemed insurmountable. Nehemiah, wept, prayed and fasted as God formulated a vision for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. His time with God generated passion that others saw and longed to follow. Paul had a personal encounter with Christ that not only gave him a vision but put a fire in his soul to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

Vision envy will produce a pseudo vision you can chase. But it will not give you the conviction and passion that comes from a personal vision encounter with God.