By Rev. Rick Young, TPF’s President & CEO
How is your vision? Is it blurry? Are you seeing spots? Whether you are driving a car or leading a church or nonprofit, clear vision is critical to everything we do. I like to read and drive (but not at the same time!), so once a year I visit my ophthalmologist for the requisite read of numbers and letters to ensure I maintain 20/20 vision. While my vision is now assisted by contact lenses and glasses, it DOES remain perfectly clear.
But what about the vision of your church or nonprofit? Is it clearly defined and communicated? Or is it unclear and intangible? Maybe somewhere in the middle?
Recently, when visiting with a group from a partner congregation, I asked them to describe their church’s vision. What did they feel God was calling them to do and be? The room was filled with an uncomfortable stunned silence, which was finally broken by the pastor stating, “Uh, I guess we have some work to do.” Having a well-defined vision is essential for every organization. Without a destination how can one even begin the trip? Organizations often spend inordinate amounts of time developing a mission statement or strategic plan, yet never seem to integrate or execute either. They become nice words on letterhead or somewhat trite slogans that do little to engage or enthuse stakeholders.
Your organization’s vision should be the guideline by which all actions are judged.
If it doesn’t fulfill the mission, why are you doing it? For example, a church whose vision includes thriving as a welcoming congregation, should ensure that each member of the congregation is aligned to this mission and focused on welcoming visitors through a common language and purpose. A vision like this will ensure that pastors and church members are not speaking in a code with complicated acronyms that everyone in attendance cannot understand. Your actions must match your vision, or they are inconsequential at best and detrimental at worst.
Your vision serves to keep people unified, engaged, and invigorated.
Few want to support an organization that is confused and unfocused. Your supporters want to know how lives are being transformed, culture changed, and how they can be a part of your exciting organization.
Sometimes we need help finding that vision, just like my contacts and reading glasses. Often, an outside source can provide clear and objective assistance. The Relationship Team at TPF can offer some suggestions and assistance, all you have to do is ask!