Have we been doing vision-casting wrong?
I think so. For maybe a generation or more.
Some of my worst disasters in ministry have come from trying to implement a vision, only to find out that no one else was buying into it.
They might have even agreed that it was a good idea. For me. But it wasn’t theirs.
So they didn’t get behind it.
And no, I do not believe the alternative is to do a better job at convincing the group of the vision. If the church doesn’t get behind the pastor’s vision, maybe the pastor’s vision for them isn’t God’s vision for them.
There’s a better way.
As we saw in my earlier post, 12 Ways to Know If You’re Pastoring Like a Boss – Or Like a Leader, leaders don’t convince followers to meet the leader’s needs. Leaders are committed to meeting the followers’ needs.
How We’ve Been Taught to Cast Vision
Here’s the way vision-casting is usually taught and practiced in the church.
- The pastor gets a vision for the church through prayer, Bible-reading or the latest church leadership conference
- The pastor preaches about the vision
- The leaders and congregation get behind the vision
- The vision is supported, preached, and repeated regularly
From the top. Down to the bottom.
Here are some problems I see with that way of casting vision.
1. It’s More Old Testament than New Testament
When we talk vision-casting, we tend to use Old Testament images and stories. Moses going up, then coming down the mountain. Ezekiel in the Valley of the Dry Bones. Elijah and the still, small voice.
There’s nothing wrong with teaching from the Old Testament, of course. But it’s not the best model for how Christians hear from God. The Day of Pentecost changed the top-down, lone-wolf prophet model for hearing from God.
Acts 2 does not give us a picture of Peter hearing from God in private, then coming to the disciples with the vision. It shows the Holy Spirit descending on the entire church, with Peter being the spokesperson to the community for what the entire church experienced.
The church gets the vision from prayer-soaked time in God’s Word. Then one of the leaders speaks that united vision to the community. When was the last time you heard that in a vision-casting message?
Speaking of the Old Testament…