Vision

By Stan Gleason, Anthony Mangun, Chester Mitchell

1. How do you communicate vision to your church?

Stan Gleason
Vision is the power of the church. I try to state the vision clearly, creatively, and continually so that it becomes engrained in the congregation. Because this generation is very visual, it is important to utilize print and video. The higher the quality of the visuals, the greater the response will be.

Anthony Mangun
Vision is communicated in two ways: the spoken word and demonstration. After much prayer and fasting, there are specific times of the year when I preach vision-casting messages. It then becomes incumbent upon me to live that vision before the people. My burden for the lost in our city cannot just be communicated verbally; I must bring people to the Lord, and my congregation must see me in the role of a personal soul winner and discipler.

Chester Mitchell
Communicating the vision requires that I both articulate and embody the vision. Each January and September I designate at least one Sunday as Vision Sunday. During my vision messages, I leverage the power of the pulpit to clearly articulate God’s future for our church. I employ the great texts from the Word and tell stories of changed lives in our church. People respond to a vision when they see what it produces in a changed life. Great visions are memorable, and thus I use slogans. Everyone who attends our church will repeatedly hear, “Bringing them in … Growing them up … Sending them out.” Everyone should be able to articulate the vision. Finally, a pastor cannot communicate something unless it is first a fire in his bones. I get my passion in prayer when I am convicted about what could be and what should be.

2. What steps have you taken to implement your vision?

Stan Gleason
I first take the vision to my staff to get their buy-in. Depending on the length and breadth of the vision, I may also take it to my entire leadership team; the greater the vision, the more leadership I get involved up front. I also use a series of messages for the entire church to explain where we are, where we are going, why we need to go there, and how we will go. We also use various branding opportunities including banners, video, handouts, and brochures. At times we have divided our church into affinity groups to more effectively communicate. We always provide an opportunity for the congregation to respond to the vision in some demonstrable way such as prayer commitments, commitment cards, family altars, or enlisting in ministries.

Anthony Mangun
In addition to the verbal communication and demonstration of my vision, I empower our church’s leadership team to not just buy in to my vision, but to make it theirs, to apply it to their respective departments, and then to share it with those they lead. The goal is for prayer, the Word, evangelism, and discipleship to be an integral part of all aspects of all departments throughout the church.

Chester Mitchell
I begin to implement the vision by communicating it to my core leadership. They become vision carriers, influencing others. Another important key is making sure systems are in place for the vision to be successful. Systems are the highway for vision. I also find that it is important to celebrate the victories along the way.

3. What have been the obstacles to your vision?

Stan Gleason
The biggest obstacle to casting vision is when I do not follow up and follow through. If it is only a Sunday splash then nothing will come of it. Further, if a vision is not compelling, does
not inspire passion, is not communicated well, or is not embraced by the leadership team, it is unlikely that it will come to pass. Too, I have found that I am usually excited about my ideas and not so excited about the ideas of others. I must assume that is true for others when stating my case for the vision and plan accordingly.

Anthony Mangun
I am very aware of the time that is required, not just in prayer and fasting, but in living out lifestyle evangelism and discipleship. I try to help our people balance their responsibilities with their home life, their own spouses and children, while also reaching out to others without overburdening them.

Chester Mitchell
Never assume that saying it one time means they got it! Maintaining the vision becomes more challenging at every new stage of growth. Another obstacle is that people I am leading are going through the natural processes of life. This ensures that adjustments are required. The birth of a child, a major sickness, the death of a loved one, economic uncertainty, or a spiritual trial affect people and will affect how people relate to the vision. Someone has challenged every great vision that God gave me. God’s vision in my ministry has always faced the test of limited resources. What I have learned is that when God gives the vision, He will surprise me with His provision. I have learned that when I give someone permission to leave me, God will send the right people to help me.

4. In what ways has your vision changed over the years?

Stan Gleason
In my early years of ministry, I had no clue what a vision was, much less how to communicate a vision or get buy-in. My vision has changed as I have become more aware of the world around me. I have caught a vision for a multicultural revival and can say that it is happening in our church. I have caught the vision of equipping and empowering the saints to do the work of the ministry by decentralizing control and by raising up and releasing gifted people to lead.

Anthony Mangun
If anything, it has become more focused than ever. I believe that we will win the world one soul at a time and that I am personally responsible for doing all I can to reach as many as I can in my own community, as well as to utilize the technology available to us to reach literally around the world with the gospel of Christ’s kingdom.

Chester Mitchell
Vision is always a partnership between God and human beings. God’s part of the vision has not changed, but I have needed to change. I have had to learn humility. Some of my plans did not work, and this made me feel like a failure. I have learned patience and that God’s vision is “for an appointed time.” I have learned that you cannot accomplish the vision until you invest in the right people and they become your partners.

5. What influences shape your vision?

Stan Gleason
My vision has been greatly influenced by the books I read (including Scripture), the people with whom I spend most of my time, the thoughts that I allow to dominate my mind, my prayer time, and the people I allow to speak into my life.

Anthony Mangun
The mandate of His Word, my personal call, and the reality of the times.

Chester Mitchell
My mentors have influenced my vision. Vision is a God-quality, and thus I gain inspiration from people in all walks of life who are attempting the seemingly impossible. I make time to visit places, listen to visionary leaders, and spend time in the presence of people who are like-minded and those who have a vision that is larger than mine. Whenever I have the opportunity to be around someone who has a great vision, I ask questions. One question I ask is, “Who are the people who influenced you?” I recall sitting with a pastor who had built a great church and asking him, “What would you do differently?” He began weeping uncontrollably, and after several minutes he composed himself and said, “I would have less of me and more of God.”

From, “Forward Magazine”/November-December 2008/Volume 39, Issue 6/page 16-17, by Stan Gleason, Anthony Mangun, Chester Mitchell

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