Thursday, March 09, 2006

Communicating Vision, Part 1

For the past several weeks, I have been sharing about vision for Thursday Leadership Lesson over at Zone Gathering. We have explored what vision is, the power of passionate vision, and how to receive vision. I want to continue posting those thoughts over here, as well.

Today, I want to start talking about how to communicate vision by focusing on the personal preparation and preliminary communication a leader must implement.

Habakkuk 2:2 says, "Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it." The Message version says it this way: "Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters."

We can have all the vision in the world, but it will not move people unless it is communicated. It must be spelled out plainly in big, bold letters that everyone can understand.

First, search the Scriptures. First, we should examine the Scriptures to ensure that the vision we have is truly from God and in accordance with His word. Secondly, the Bible contains many stories of God carrying out his vision through ordinary people. We can learn from those. Look for examples of that type of vision in the Bible. Learn from the visionary communication of leaders in the Bible. Nehemiah was an amazing vision-caster, and we can learn a lot from his story. In Nehemiah 2:17-18, he declares his vision:
But now I said to them, "You know full well the tragedy of our city. It lies in ruins, and its gates are burned. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and rid ourselves of this disgrace." Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king. They replied at once, "Good! Let's rebuild the wall." So they began the good work.
The Bible contains amazing stories of God's vision being embraced and carried out by ordinary people. Dig into the word to ensure your vision is Scripturally sound and to learn from how God has worked in the past.

Second, pray. Godly vision is not man-conjured. Rather, it is the revelation of God's will to a leader. God will guide you through prayer to the right timing and the right words for communicating the vision. Let's look to Nehemiah as an example once again. We read in Nehemiah 1:4 that he mourned, fasted, and prayed for days before he approached the king about his vision. The vision may be from God, but we must ensure that the way in which we communicate it and execute it is also from God. It is easy for me to get so excited about a vision that I just run off and jump into it on my own, forgetting God in the whole equation. Praying and fasting keeps us aligned with God.

Third, write down the vision. As God instructed the prophet Habakkuk, write down your vision in plain, understandable language. Your vision should make sense and be memorable. In his book The Power of Vision, George Barna says, "For vision to be effective, it must be simple enough to be remembered and specific enough to give direction." You should be able to sum up your vision in 2-3 sentences. The macro-vision for NCC Small Groups is Be One, Make One, For One. We flesh it out by saying "Be a disciple, Make a disciple, and do it all For the glory of One- Jesus Christ." We flesh it out even further through sermons, blog posts, etc. But the main points are Be One, Make One, For One. It's simple and memorable.

Finally, begin to live out your vision. People should see the vision in action in your life before you share it verbally. People will adjust their lives to join where they see God at work. Give them a picture, a story, and a living symbol of your vision before you begin to ask people to join you in that effort. Pictures are worth more than words. If you set the example, you will be able to communicate your vision with the same confidence as Paul when he said, "Imitate me just as I also imitate Christ" (I Corinthians 11:1)

Before we take our vision to our groups and ministries, we must do the hard work of preparing ourselves to communicate the vision. We must spend time alone with God searching the Scriptures and aligning ourselves with his will. We must pay attention to the details of the language of the vision and begin to embody it to provide a living symbol and story of the vision.

Next week, we will talk about going public with the vision.


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