There are a lot of things pastors have to do each week. They preach, teach, counsel, pray with, pray for, listen, fund raise, make decisions, build teams, go over budgets, look towards the future, disciple, evangelize. This list goes on and on.
Some of the things a pastor does he can and should delegate. Some things he should train others to do so they can do it either at the church or in another church one day.
Some things, regardless of gifting, he can’t give away. There is one role, that while every leader in the church does it, the pastor cannot give away.
It is a role that must be on every pastor’s job description: Chief Vision Caster.
Every leader in your church does this or should do this (more on that in a minute), but you are the one who starts it. You are the loudest voice.
Does this matter so much?
The answer is yes.
If you aren’t careful, your church will slowly move off course. Not theologically, but it will slowly become inward focused. It will start to become about keeping people comfortable.
You know this and know what it feels like. Vision leaks and slowly becomes blurry.
What Separates Leaders & Followers
In my opinion vision is one of the things that separates leaders and followers. Everyone can point out what needs to change, everyone has an opinion of what a church should do, who they should try to reach, what it should look like. Only a leader can take them there. Only a leader can say, “Here is where we are, there is where we should be and here’s how we’re getting there.”
A vision is a picture of a preferred future, not just a complaint about the present.
How to Keep Vision Clear
As I said, you can’t delegate this away. You aren’t the only vision caster in the church, but you are the chief one. You should be the clearest, and all the visions for ministries in the church are based on what the vision of the church is.
Often, though, vision becomes blurry for the leader. It can become stale; you wonder if you are reaching it, if it is worth going after. When that happens, it is blurrier for people in your church.
Remember the law of the lid: no one (outside of Jesus) will ever have a clearer vision or stronger passion for your church than you do. It is imperative you do whatever you can to keep your vision clear and white hot.
Here are some things I do:
- Hang around people who don’t know Jesus. This reminds you of what your church is to do. Remind yourself that you are battling for souls, not over worship styles or service times. Church becomes so petty when you forget that souls hang in the balance. Followers of Jesus become the most alive when they are living on the mission that Jesus called them on, and that includes people who don’t know Jesus. It reminds you of why you work so hard, why everything you do matters and is worthwhile.
- Listen to great vision casters. Not every pastor is a great vision caster, but remember, every great vision caster did not start out that way. So listen to great vision casters. Listen to men and women who cast a clear and compelling vision. You aren’t copying their vision, but it can not only teach you how to use words but it will get you excited. Your excitement for the vision is the lid of the excitement of your church, team or organization.
- Spend time with Jesus. This one seems obvious, but pastors need to be reminded to do what they challenge others to do. Your vision will get dim and blurry if you aren’t spending time with Jesus; if you aren’t confessing your own sin and living in the power of the cross and resurrection of the one who gave you the vision and the passion in the first place. This time will not only clarify your vision but will strengthen you for the road to accomplish that vision.