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Grand vision essentials

By Sam S. Rainer III

Every time I travel through Orlando, I cannot help but think of the grand vision of Walt Disney. Epcot Center was finished in 1982. Unfortunately, Walt Disney had already passed away. Disney executives asked Walt’s wife to cut the ribbon. When she was called up to the podium, one of the executives said to her, “Mrs. Disney, I wish Walt could have seen this.”

She replied, “He did.”

Vision is essential for something grand. Vision is critical for the church as well. God will work through and use anyone. But without visionary leaders and pastors, I imagine there would be fewer healthy churches. I’ve compiled a few thoughts on vision below – it’s a somewhat amorphous subject. Leaders and researches have numerous definitions, qualities and essentials of vision. Feel free to chime in with your ideas and comments, but let me share with you a few essentials of a grand vision.

Vision is about people

Vision does not happen without leaders. Leaders cast vision and vision involves the future. But the process of creating a vision involves more than a single person at the top prognosticating about tomorrow’s events. Vision is about people. A leader’s vision enables a group of people to organize for common purposes and goals. This vision is a collective and emotional effort guided by leaders in which possibility becomes reality. More than unrealistic dreams and empty ideals, vision helps rally people towards something tangible. Vision unifies—revealing how people link into something bigger than themselves.

Vision excites people about taking risks. It leads people into uncharted waters, compelling them to take a chance on the uncertain. There is no overwhelming fear of failure in a compelling vision, only the realization that failures produce more opportunities to learn and move towards the next exciting place.

Vision is grounded in absolutes. It is not a patchwork of conflicting principles. These principles keep the movement of people on track. Vision embraces and welcomes dissenting views, but never to the point of detriment for the common purpose and future goal. Leaders with vision stand firmly and move resolutely. They lead by example, demonstrating a personal commitment to the spoken vision.

Move to action

Vision has a hook. Vision is worthless unless it grabs people and moves them into action. Casting vision means having a big hook. An exciting vision gets people asking, “What’s next? What’s the encore? Where are we going from here?”

Vision builds upon past successes, carrying the best of what was towards something greater. It never forgets the past, but helps propel people to places they did not think possible. Vision is always collaborative. It takes into account the voice of the people. A leader’s vision incorporates the best creative ideas. Vision reinvigorates passions and stirs people to movement for long term objectives, being less about tomorrow and more about the enduring.

Sam S. Rainer III is the president of Rainer Research and senior pastor of First Baptist Church Murray, Murray, KY. [www.rainerresearch.com] [www.fbcmurray.org]

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