Vision and Leadership – A Strategic Partnership

September 06, 2017

by Kim Shockley – Catawba Valley Church Vitality Strategist

The power of vision has been a focal point of my ministry for years. More and more, the work encompasses ongoing coaching for using vision, which is the job of leadership. Ultimately, vision is the sense of how God wants to use the congregation now. Vision is a motivator - it comes from an active prayer and listening and conversation process – focused on what God desires from us and how God wants to use us. Some congregations have this innately, others use a specific process to determine it, and sometimes vision comes with a pastor and the Holy Spirit works through the pastor to infuse vision into the congregation. No matter how vision is determined, it is an active prayer and listening and conversation process that helps us see God’s preferred future!

Once vision is captured, learning to live it is the harder step! It is the role of leadership, both clergy and laity, to keep the vision in front of every decision, every event, every worship service, and every everything! Several of the congregations I’ve worked with have made banners and posters of the vision and values to post in every room. This communication tool becomes the reminder that vision is a place of power within a congregation. God’s sense of purpose transcends personalities, programs, professionals, and preferences. Check out my previous blog: http://vital.wnccumc.org/vitality-as-energy/

Learning to practice alignment to a new vision is tricky work. Leaders go first! I recently watched a pastor remind leaders during a leadership team meeting to check every topic they covered against the stated vision and clarity work. They were able to remind themselves to stay focused on God’s purpose rather than their own preferences. Hopefully, as she continues to model this alignment, they will also take the lead, so that the alignment process trickles down into the task teams and committees they lead.

Vision and Leadership together is really about focus. My dad was an amateur photographer and an avid bird watcher. I spent a lot of childhood walks in the woods with him as he focused both camera and binocular lenses. I learned that the lens through which we see is incredibly important to the outcomes we reach. A carefully focused, crisp image of God’s intended purpose is always more fruitful for the local church. Tod Bolsinger, in his book Canoeing the Mountains, says that leadership is energizing a community of people toward their own transformation in order to accomplish a shared mission in the face of a changing world! In this statement, discipleship and vision come together in powerful ways. Clear, focused vision and energized leadership truly can make disciples who will change the world! I know without a shadow of doubt that if your church’s vision is fuzzy and your leaders are not energizing the community of faith, that our Church Vitality Strategists will gladly come and help you discern vision, claim clarity around values, and help you learn how to live it together.
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.