Without Implementation, the Vision Is Meaningless
By Mark Foster
A story is told of a spring whose waters had medicinal qualities so that those who drank from it were made well of certain infirmities. In the course of time, homes were built around the spring, then a hotel, stores, and eventually a town that grew into a city. There came a day when visitors would ask, “By the way, where is the spring from which all this grew?” The city fathers in embarrassment would say, “We are sorry, but we don’t know. In all of our progress and improvement, we lost the spring and no one knows where it is.”
Casting a vision and living a vision are two different things. It is easy for a church to get comfortable in ministry and not to live out their vision.
The pastor is the primary vision caster for the local church. The vision must be constantly kept in front of the people. The pastor must eat, sleep, and breathe the vision. The vision of the church cannot be delegated to anyone else. And although pastors are good at casting the vision, implementing the vision takes a team effort. It takes practical thinking and ability to reproduce the vision in others to generate a groundswell of support and acceptance of the vision. Here are eight keys to implementing the vision
1. Keep the church praying.
This is a no-brainer, but it is the key to protecting and producing the vision. When leaders pray, prayer leads.
2. Meet with leaders.
Meet with them personally. Have regularly scheduled individual meetings with department heads. Often time’s simple communication can help you navigate foreseeable problems.
3. Have regularly scheduled staff meetings.
Build camaraderie with the staff with a “can do” attitude and positive support. Use these meetings to train and to solicit feedback on their individual ministries.
4. Appoint a ministries pastor.
The job of the ministries pastor is to meet with all the department leaders to ensure that they are implementing their part of the vision. He is also to offer encouragement to the leaders and to assess their needs and to serve them accordingly.
5. Have a leadership summit.
Once a year we have a leadership summit. This meeting works best when it can be held off-site. Spend time with your leaders and recast your vision to them. It is a great time for camaraderie, fun, prayer, consecration and rededication.
6. Set the calendar early.
Set your calendar for the next year by September of the current year. This will help you in planning, marketing, and organization of the vision.
7. Set a budget.
Set a budget and live within it. Given the time demands on a pastor, this is often difficult to accomplish. I have a task force that helps me administrate our budget.
8. Put together a task force.
Almost ten years ago the Lord led me to put together a task force to help us stay focused on the vision. This is one of the most important things we have done, and it has been a great blessing.
This task force is made up of board members and businessmen in our church. At the time we first commissioned the task force, we were preparing to relocate our campus as well as to purchase fifteen additional acres. I told these men that I was neither a businessman nor a builder, and I needed their help. I further stated that by them taking this load off me, we would be able to maintain quality preaching, teaching, and leadership. We have since built three buildings on our thirty-three-acre campus. These men help with building, with budgeting, and with conducting business for the church. They are men of prayer, and they buy into the vision.
Business expert Joel Barker said, “Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with vision is making a positive difference.” The church will have a tremendous positive impact for Christ on our world when we unite vision and action.
Building a Task Force
In setting up our task force, I offered a round table or collaborative model of leadership. Like King Arthur’s legendary tale of the Knights of the Round Table, I try to emphasize productivity rather than position. I try to promote equality, respect, and trust, and I try to lead from a position of security, avoiding unwarranted fear of disloyalty or rebellion.
In order for this concept to work, the pastor must be willing to focus on his strengths and admit his weaknesses. Pray and ask for God’s wisdom in finding individuals who have strengths that you do not. Look for individuals in whom you believe and have confidence. You are looking for people who are leaders—people who are influencers. You must choose individuals who believe in you and your leadership. People who enjoy working together and who willingly work as a team. Above all, they must be people who have no personal agendas—people who simply love the work of God, the pastor, and the church.
Rules to Live by when Building a Task Force
I told the group that we would work expressly as a team. We make all decisions prayerfully, seeking the guidance of the Spirit. They are called upon for their expertise and input. They are called upon to help make tough decisions. They are allowed to make mistakes. They are allowed to have their own successes.
We have made a pledge to one another that we will never leave the conference table unless we are in agreement. Though we all have our opinions, we submit to the group for the betterment of the body.
A facilitative and collaborative leader harvests the power of the many minds in the group. It is called synergy. Synergy can be illustrated as follows: 2+2=10. It is biblical, “One can chase 1,000, and two can put 10,000 to flight.” When we join together in action, God can be glorified and vision can be ignited.
From, “Forward Magazine”/November-December 2008/Volume39, Issue 6/Page 6-7, by Mark Foster
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