Churches and businesses are drawing close to the time when they will begin to gather and open in groups once again. Pastors, staffs, and business owners are going to make decisions regarding reopening their doors and gather in groups. While they have gained new ways of doing things (Zoom meetings, social distancing, sanitizing, etc.) its’ natural tendency is to go back to “normal” — but they are in a day that their “old normal” just can not continue. Churches and businesses have to change, but it is the vision of the organization that will allow it move through these unknown and treacherous times.
Focusing on the issues and changes that need to be made will keep you away from the vision if you allow it, but one would do it to their own peril. The following are three things that many leaders get wrong — it is the vision that will allow them to navigate through these tough decisions.
1. Mistake#1 – Vision is Not About Fixing Problems.
Vision is not seeing perceived problems that need to be fixed and then designing a plan to fix those problems. Fixing problems is on the job description for a leader, but it is not vision. A skillful leader can fix problems all the day long but never show vision.
The leader who falls into this category is stuck in maintenance mode. Nehemiah did not fix the walls because they were broken. The broken walls changed how God’s people were living, so the walls had to be built so that people’s lives would be changed. When we are only about fixing problems we have actually lost sight of the vision. Casting vision and pushing it through the organization will cause all kinds of issues, it actually creates problems.
A good vision will allow people to clearly see where the organization is going, there will be people who don’t want to go on this trip, and others will want to get on the bus with you. But don’t expect it to be clean and neat, and that everyone will be happy.
2. Mistake #2 – Vision is Not a Group Project.
A vision can be shared, but it cannot be developed by the organization, it has to come from the leader. Visions spread and are adapted as they grow throughout an organization. They begin to take a life of their own in different ways, but it is a guiding force from the top of the organization.
The top leader has to constantly push the vision because it will get lost among the masses. The organization as a whole cannot push the vision forward without the main leader encouraging them to do so. God does not give multiple visions to multiple people, He gives one vision to the main leader. If He did there would be chaos.
This is not to say that counsel should not be sought after before developing a vision or even letting key leaders have input into the process. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” But once they have been heard and their advice taken into account, it is the main leader who sets the vision.
3. Mistake #3 – Vision Is Not ALL About Making Changes.
Beginning something new, ending something that is not working, or making changes, is not vision. Changes are tools that allow you reach or achieve the vision. You can change how you are structured, hire or fire employees, etc. but these are changes that make organizations healthy and stable. Once the organization is stable, healthy, etc. you still have to ask and answer the question “Why are we doing this?” and you have to have an answer (and ask it again, and again, and again, ad nauseam).