By Lee Stephenson
Creating vision and casting vision is one of the great privileges of being a pastor. It also proves to be one of the biggest challenges to leading a church. The challenge with vision is communicating it. Every leader longs to cast a compelling vision that motivates the masses. However, it is easier said than done. Here are a few pointers to help when it comes to communicating vision:
The vision needs to be clear
Clear is always better than clever. Clarity around a vision is imperative. As the communicator, you have to be clear about your understanding of it. Consider writing and wordsmithing the vision. Walking through a meticulous process only helps solidify the vision. When the vision is clear to you, you are able to clearly communicate it to others. It is not about how much you share, but share enough for people to have complete clarity.
The vision needs to be concrete
A concrete vision means you have a vision that is real and tangible. It is not about using language that no one understands or trying to impress others with great and extensive content. Not only does the vision need to be clear, it needs to be something people can touch, feel and engage with.
The vision needs to be concise
When it comes to casting vision, less is more. It needs to be concise and free of too many details. Great vision statements are memorable. Keeping the vision concise allows others to grasp it with the goal of communicating it to others. A concise vision is much easier for people to own the vision and share it
The vision needs to be compelling
A compelling vision moves people to action. This is the motivational side of vision casting. People are motivated and a vision becomes compelling when it centers on the “why” instead of the “how” or “what.” Author Simon Sinek does a great TED Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action. In his presentation, Sinek talks about the importance of the “why” and without it people are never inspired to move to action.
The “why” is critical in motivating people behind a vision, but how the why is communicated is just as important. There are many different levels by which people feel motivated to action. Understanding the levels of motivation will only help you in the communication of vision and moving people to action. Here is a quick glimpse at the different levels of motivation:
Top Level/Long-Term Motivations
Love, Relationship and Identity
This level is fueled by our love for God and people. It finds its strength in who we are, what God has asked us to do and who has need. Vision becomes motivating at this level because people recognize the grace of God, see him as the owner of all things and ourselves as stewards entrusted with resources to accomplish much good. As a result, there is a sense of destiny and privilege that goes with this level.
This level is driven by a compelling vision for a preferred future. Part of the art of using this level is to make sure that the question, “Why can’t we stay here?” results in a discontent in the status quo prior to painting the picture of our future opportunities.
This level becomes powerful when people realize the reason we are approaching them is that we want something for them, not from them. Here it is important to spell out the benefits of making the change, joining the team, taking the action or letting go.
Lower Level/Short-Term Motivations
While need is a good reason to give, needs are endless. Asking your people to give and serve just because there is a need will eventually lose its power when they realize they will never be able to meet every need. We have to move toward long-term motivations.
While responsibility is valuable, it is a short-term motivation for most people these days. Previous generations gave great allegiance to God and country, but duty and responsibility are no longer high values. “To whom much has been given, much will be required” is a favorite verse at this level, but in the end there is a lacking element – joy.
Guilt, Shame and Fear
This is lowest of the motivational levels. Guilt for sins, shame of lack of performance and fear of punishment or consequences are what drive action. The goal at this level is to make people feel so bad about how they have performed in the past that they will give and serve in the future. It is often full of manipulation and results in damage to the person’s understanding of personal worth and value to God. While this level works, eventually it clouds our understanding of God and his grace. Thus, it runs out
When it comes to communicating vision, which motivations have been your normal mode? How can you grow as a leader in casting vision? What do you need to change?