The Power of a Vision Written by: Kris Vallotton
Category: Strategic Planning
Article by: Nicolas
Date: 07/15/2008 10:50:25
A man without a vision is a man without a future.
A man without a vision is a man without a future. A man without a future will always return to his past."
"A knife cuts because it has a narrow focus" (Cleddie Keith).
"A coward dies a thousand deaths, but a brave man dies only once" (Roman soldiers).
"When God predetermined our destiny, He factored in our stupidity.
Therefore there's always enough time to finish?"(Larry Randolph).
"The level of sacrifice that an environment requires will determine the size of people that will follow" (Kris Vallotton).
A progressive revelation of an ageless revival for our generation is
growing in our hearts. It is for those who went before us and for those
who are yet to be born. Yet, the question of how the vision is to be
One famous Proverb says, "Where there is no vision, the people are
unrestrained, but happy is he who keeps the law" (Proverbs 29:18).
Vision is the bridge between the present and the future. Without it we
perish or go "unrestrained," as the New American Standard Bible puts
it. Vision gives pain a purpose. Those without vision spend their lives
taking the path of least resistance as they try to avoid discomfort.
The level of sacrifice that a vision requires will determine the size
of people who follow. Sacrifice separates the small from the great.
Consider the example of a young man who has just graduated from high
school and joins the military. As soon as he steps off the boot camp
bus, the sergeant starts yelling at him. He has to march over to the
barbershop and get his head shaved. Then he is up early in the morning
to exercise with someone screaming at him and talking about his mother.
Just a month before, he was in high school. He would have never put up
with any of this nonsense from his teachers or classmates. But somehow
his whole mindset has changed. Why? He is enduring the "cross" so to
speak, because of the joy on the other side of it. He realizes that
boot camp is preparing him for a greater destiny. His vision of the
future is giving his present physical discomfort meaning and purpose.
So many of us go through life not understanding the purposes of our
trials. We spend our days walking a crooked path, believing that every
obstacle in the road is a problem and something to be avoided.
The second part of this Proverb says, "But happy is he who keeps the
Law." The law isn't just something God gave to Moses. It is also the
restraint, boundaries and disciplines we develop around our life to
direct us through obstacles instead of around them. These obstacles
become baptisms of fire that forge our character so we can attain and
maintain a life of greatness.
WHAT IS VISION?
Vision is what we see, but it is also the way in which we see. Vision
is the lens that interprets the events of our life, the way we view
people and our concept of God. If we have a scratch on our glasses, it
may seem like everybody around us has scratches too, but the problem
actually lies with us because our vision is impaired. Jesus said that
our eyes are the windows of our heart. Paul prayed that the eyes of our
heart would be enlightened. In other words, we perceive with our eyes
but we see with our hearts. Our minds receive images from our eyes but
our heart interprets these images. If our heart becomes bitter,
jealous, hurt or in someway infected, the lens of our heart is
distorted. What we perceive is happening and what is really going on
could be two completely different things. Jesus said, "You will know
the truth and the truth will make you free" (John 8:32). The word truth
used here is not referring to the Bible itself, (although all truth is
rooted in the Bible) but here the word truth means reality. Jesus is
saying, you will understand what is real and that will free you. So
many of us live in a virtual reality. The way we view life can feel and
look real, or make perfect sense, but still not be real at all. Have
you ever watched a good movie and gotten totally into it? You
experience all the emotions of real life. You may even leave the
theater still "feeling" the movie, but it was just a movie? it was
never real. The truth is: we see what we believe to be true. Another
way to put it is, if you have the wrong pretext you will misunderstand
the context. Having a revelation of what is real will deliver us from a
life of torment that virtual reality often causes.
ESTABLISHING CORE VALUES
Therefore, the things we believe to be true determine the way in which
we interpret life. These "things" are called "core values." Core values
are the lens or eyes of our heart. It is important for us to realize
the incongruence between what our core values presently are and what we
really want them to be. Often, the things we say we believe and the
things we actually believe are not the same. We must understand that it
is not the truths that we believe in our head that are our core values,
but rather the ones we believe in our heart. The things we perceive to
be true determine the way we respond to the world around us and to God
who lives within us.
These core values also help define the part of the flock that we find
ourselves called and attracted to. The children of Israel experienced
this principle when they came into the Promised Land. Joshua assigned
land to them according to their tribes and divisions (Joshua 18:10). In
other words, they received land according to their diverse visions. For
instance, if they had a vision for farming, they probably did not go
with Caleb to the mountain country but instead were given land that
best facilitated their vision. Therefore the land they were given and
their vision was congruent. From this perspective, it is not very hard
to see how some church splits happen. Sometimes pastors, in their zeal
to build their churches, attract people that have a vision for things
that their churches or "land" (metaphorically speaking) will not
sustain. This dual vision eventually ends up in di-vision.
FORESIGHT, INSIGHT & OVERSIGHT
True Godly vision consists of foresight, insight and oversight that
come from His sight. Foresight is like looking at life through a
telescope. This outlook allows us to know what is ahead as it connects
us to our future. Foresight is the element of vision that helps life
make sense and gives us the motivation that we described earlier.
Insight is like viewing life through a microscope. This perception
gives us an understanding of why things happen in life. It also helps
determine the underlying motivations of the heart.
Oversight puts life into context. It is like flying over our house in a
helicopter. There is a perspective that we can only receive from this
vista that helps us understand where we are with respect to where
everything else is. The sons of Issachar are great examples of this
kind of vision. The book of I Chronicles says that these men understood
the times and had knowledge of what Israel should do (12:32). People
that are blessed with this type of vision often have great wisdom
concerning the seasons of life.
His sight assures us that the vision we have is from God. A vision from
the Lord creates a mission from heaven. This is illustrated in the life
of Moses when he went up on the mountain, received a vision of the
tabernacle, and was told to construct it according to the pattern that
he had received. (Exodus 24:16-28:43) Visions like this are just "pipe
dreams" without some sort of administrative plan to complete them. A
lot of people have lofty ideas about things they would like to
accomplish for God but they seem to have no sense of how to see the
dream fulfilled. There are entire books dedicated to this subject,
therefore, I will just give an overview of how to accomplish a vision.
The first part of accomplishing any vision is to take it from the
unseen world and bring it into the natural realm. This can be
accomplished by simply writing down the vision. Articulating the vision
on paper pulls the dream that is in your spirit (that no one can see
but you) into the visible world so that others can capture it in their
own hearts. Tools that help to visualize the mission such as
architectural drawings, models, testimonies of others who have
accomplished similar dreams, or visits to places that have a common
purpose are all helpful in capturing and defining the vision for both
yourself and others who will come alongside and help. Habakkuk puts it
this way: "Then the LORD answered me and said, 'Record the vision and
inscribe it on tablets, that the one who reads it may run. For the
vision is yet for the appointed time; it hastens toward the goal and it
will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; for it will certainly
come, it will not delay" (Habakkuk 2:2-3).
There is an old story about three bricklayers that helps illustrate
what it looks like when people receive motivation from taking ownership
of a vision:
There were three bricklayers working beside each other on a wall.
Someone came up to the first one and said, "What are you doing"
"What;'s it look like I am doing?" he replied sarcastically, "I am
laying bricks!" The man asked the next guy on the wall what he was
doing. He said,"Can't you see what I am doing? I am building a wall."
Then the last man was asked what he was doing. He exclaimed, "I am
building a great cathedral for God!"
Who do you think will do the best quality work and be the hardest
worker? Vision causes people to love their work because they can see
the big picture. Someone once said, "If you want to build a great ship,
you can go out and find some talented craftsman or you can find a
person who loves the sea." Imparting God's vision to the team around us
is the single most important factor in seeing the mission accomplished.
The next step is to create a plan to accomplish the mission. The Bible
says, "Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many
counselors they succeed; the plans of the heart belong to man, but the
answer of the tongue is from the LORD" (Proverbs 15:22 & 16:1).
From these two verses we see that although the vision must be from God
Himself, men are to help develop the plan that brings about the
fulfillment of the vision. Notice how Solomon highlights the fact that
developing plans in a vacuum, (without the expertise and insight of
others who have different gifts and perspectives than we do), will
ultimately end in frustration.
It's important for administrative people to understand that they are
there to administrate the mission. The word administrate means,
"add-to-the-mission," not change the mission. Visionaries often do not
like to work with administrators because by nature administrators are
refiners and finishers. Sometimes administrators do not understand that
they are being brought in to help visionaries determine how something
should be accomplished, not what should be accomplished. If the vision
is so large that it requires the help of Heaven (which it often does
when it really is from God), it will be important that the visionary
impart the vision and the faith to see it accomplished to the team.
First Timothy 1:4 says that the administration of God is "by faith."
FEAR COUNTERACTS FAITH
People often disguise their fear as wisdom when they enter into a
supernatural mission that can only be accomplished with the help of
God. Moses had this problem when he sent the twelve spies in to the
Promised Land to determine where they should enter. Ten of the spies
misunderstood their mission and somehow thought they were being asked
whether or not they should take the land at all.
This type of misunderstanding of the roles people are invited to play
in the mission has caused the demise of so many would-be miracles,
paralyzing the church of the living God. For years, the people of God
have often settled for what can be accomplished by human effort and
ability, because we have allowed the opinion of faithless people to
determine what we will achieve, instead of being faithful
(faith-filled) to the vision we saw "on the mountain". This is a
perversion of the gospel of the kingdom. We should never settle for
anything less than what God told us to do.
After the plan is established, goals must be set. The Bible says, "I
press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in
Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).
Goals are simply the vision broken down into smaller pieces that are
measurable in time and space. In other words, they are specified parts
of the mission that we will accomplish by a predetermined date. Many
people don't like to set goals because they think that if they are not
able to accomplish them on time, they have failed. The truth of the
matter is that, "If you fail to plan you plan to fail." Great leaders
know that setting goals is what gives the mission a sense of urgency.
Urgency is a friend to managers as it sets the pace for those who are
carrying out the mission. If wisdom is used in goal setting, very
little management is needed to motivate the workers since urgency
manages them. However, be careful not to give your workers more to do
than they have the faith to accomplish in a given time period. If it is
too much, they will not even try, just like trying to catch a bus when
it is already a block ahead. You probably won't even run after it, as
there is so little possibility of you catching up to it. On the other
hand, if the bus just starts to pull away from the curb when you get
there, you will probably move out of your comfort zone to try to catch
it. Yet, setting goals too low will not create a sense of urgency at
all. People will not be very motivated and it will result in a lot more
work for the managers.
The final stage of seeing the mission accomplished is establishing your
steps. Proverbs says, "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord
directs his steps" (16:9). Psalms says, "The steps of a man are
established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he
will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the one who holds his
hand" (37:23-24). Steps are your day-in, day-out walk with God: the
step-by-step, moment-by-moment, hour-by-hour decisions you make and the
things you do that take up your time and use up your life. When your
vision is honestly birthed by God Himself, He will be delighted to
direct your steps. The most important thing to remember about your
steps is that they should be found somewhere in your mission. Go back
through your planner from the previous month and retrace your steps.
Does it look like they are directly attached to your mission? If not,
either redefine your mission or redirect your steps. Remember, history
is at stake!