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I just finished reading the book Me, Myself and Bob by Phil Vischer. If you do not know, Phil Vischer is the creater of VeggieTales. This book tells the story of the rise (and fall) of Veggie Tales and Big Idea. I had not realized this before reading the book, but Big Idea went bankrupt after the Jonah VeggieTale movie bankrupt. I highly recommend this book, especially for the veggie lovers out there!
At the end of the book, Phil Vischer reflects on everything he learned through the experience.
I cannot help but since the Veggie Tale song: “And so what we have learned applies to our lives today and God has a lot to say in his book!”
Vischer went through a lot of emotional, and spiritual ups and downs along with the ups and downs of his company. He had a huge dream and vision for VeggieTales and Big Idea. He got to experience his dream being given to him, and then taken away. As he reflects on this, he uses thoughts from many different authors and speakers. Two thoughts that stuck out to me in particular.
The first was that sometimes in the Bible, God takes away your dream, or threatens to, in order to see if you will still choose him. Think Abraham and Isaac. Abraham had dreamed of having a son, well any child for that matter, and just when he thought it was hopeless, there he was. There was his dream, in his arms, and God asked him to sacrifice it. Abraham showed God that he would still choose him over his dream.
The other thing that one speaker had said that really stood out to Vischer, and myself, was this: Christians should not have vision, they should have revelation. At first I was not sure how I felt about this, and to tell you the truth I am still wrestling with it, but it does seem to make sense. Vision is what we want to do, even if it is for God’s kingdom, it is still our dream. Revelation comes from God. If find this thought very interesting, and honestly hard for me to deal with. It makes me wonder, what dreams or visions do I have for the future that are not revelations from God.
Visher says that at one point after bankruptcy someone had asked him where he hoped to see himself in 5-10 years, the stereotypical interview question. They had asked him for his vision, and since he had just wrestled through this vision/revelation idea, he answered with, “Living in the middle of God’s will.” I think that is an awesome answer to that question and leaves it all up to God to reveal his plans for you. And this way, whatever God reveals cannot get in the way of your own dreams, so you are free to follow him.
“Today’s organizations face pressure to stay current, efficient and relevant. This is especially true for nonprofit organizations, like churches,” said a Barna Group article. In this article, Barna communicated the results of a survey of pastors of what they want to change in the future.
The first thing they stated that they wanted was clarity of vision and mission. This is important to all organizations. If an organization does not know their vision and mission, then they do not know what they are working toward and if a pastor does not know these things, then they cannot effectively communicate it to the congregation. Barna noted that 22% of pastors selected this as a problem they hope to tackle in the future.
The second thing pastors (25%) said that they want to work on in the future is revamping their budget and investing in the churches future. These investments would most likely be along the lines of facilities and equipment.
Thirdly, pastors hope to focus more on funding and staffing. There are two things that churches almost always need, and that is money and volunteers. It is no wonder that this is so high on the list.
The next thing that pastors stated they wanted to think about was the size of the church and the age of its leaders. Many things that a pastor does depend on the size of the church. Also, if there is no “fresh blood” coming into the church in terms of leadership, then it will become harder and harder to influence the incoming generation.
David Kinnaman, author of the Barna article, stated that “Like other organizational leaders, pastors are trying to right-size their efforts to the new economic, technological and social realities.” According to this article, churches have many of the same concerns that other businesses have and they are too trying to make sure they stay relevant in the coming days.
Vision Casting is important because it makes your idea of your company, department, or project (or in this case church) known. And it works best when you cast your vision in a way that motivates, inspires, and encourages your employees; in other words, you need them to catch your vision and really believe in it, too.
It is very important for a church staff to sit down and cast a vision of what they want to see their church look like in the future. This vision casting does not necessarily have to focus on all the negative things you would like to see changed, but the hopes and dreams for the future.
It is so vital to your growth to know where you would like to go. If your church does not have a goal, then how do you measure growth? When a church knows where they are going, that is very attractive to its members and visitors. People want to know where they are going. It is exciting to have a goal in mind and be able to work towards and see that growth that happens over the years.
This vision can be as simple as a number, say: in five years we want to have 500 people in attendance. It could be something like a plan to build a new children’s building. Another idea is you are going to become known in the community by your deeds, people will recognize you not by your face but by your actions. The possibilities for vision are numerous.
It is also important to not only cast vision for your church as a whole but also to have the “sections” within your church cast vision that ultimately support the complete vision.
Everyone is going somewhere and the trip is usually better when you have a road map. God has a vision of where he would like to see humanity be, and he gave us a road map how to follow him. We need road maps to ultimately follow him and pass out to others.