Making Vision Stick
Andy Stanley, founding and senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, has written several very helpful books including this short one that clearly illustrates six key principles for keeping your church focused on the vision.
"Vision doesn't stick without constant care and attention." "There is no season in which a leader can push autopilot…." (12) "…it is possible for a church to grow numerically while drifting further and further away from the founding vision…." "Success lures us into taking our hands off the wheel. Failure causes us to overcorrect." "Complexity can kill the original vision." (13)
"Vision is about what could be and should be, but life is about right this minute." (15)
"It is the leader's responsibility to ensure that people understand and embrace the vision of the organization." "It is up to each one of us to make sure there is alignment between the activity and the vision of our enterprise." (17)
The five steps:
1. State the vision simply.
2. Cast the vision convincingly.
3. Repeat the vision regularly.
4. Celebrate the vision systematically.
5. Embrace the vision personally. (18)
The vision must be memorable. You may need to clarify or simplify it. (19)
Northpoint's new vision revolves around connecting people into small groups. A longer vision statement was reduced to "5/50/10" (5000 groups with 50,000 people by 2010). (Better to have it memorable and have to explain it than to have it fully explained and no one remember it.) (23)
"Every vision is a solution to a problem." "It's the what's at stake issue that grabs people's heart." (25-6) Your vision must answer a) What problem does your vision solve? and b) What happens if the problem is not addressed? (27)
"Repeat the vision regularly." Intentionally incorporate it in the rhythm of your organization. (33-4) Stanley preaches on the vision every January and May. But use other means as well.
Celebrating real-world wins helps clarify and cast the vision. (39) "Reading an e-mail in church is a spontaneous way of celebrating vision." Use stories as a time to reiterate. Baptisms and stories of faith journeys are excellent. Build celebration into the rhythm of your organization. (46)
Embody the vision. Live it so people can see it. Don't fake it. If you are weary, admit it to a few safe people and ask them to pray for you.
Be alert for slippage. Vision often drifts with the introduction of a new program. Keep your antennae up for things that distract. (55) "If the people around you aren't asking the right questions, telling the right stories, or complaining about the right things, you vision may be slipping." (59)
"Pay the price. Embrace the vision. And do whatever it takes to make your vision stick!" (74)
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