My eyesight is terrible. When I don’t wear my glasses, I shuffle forward. I’m constantly reaching for the next handhold. I’m nervous about tripping up. I can’t recognize people just a few feet away.
When my vision is clear, I run. I take risks. I leap over obstacles. I recognize people and opportunities (Look! My friend. And a bookstore just ahead!) When my vision is clear, I know where to go and how to get there.
A Vision You Can See
A vision has power when the words evoke a concrete, clear image. It’s literally a picture of the future. Too often personal and collective visions are merely vague aspirations (e.g., “excellent service”, “bold evangelism”, “be a good student.”) A good vision, though, makes the aspiration concrete: “Our customers spontanously call us to thank us for our work.” “Every student in the college has been invited to respond to the Gospel personally, relevantly, and graciously from a friend in the fellowship at least once before they graduate.” “My professors encourage me to take another class with them.”
As you work to clarify vision, use your senses. What would it look like if we succeeded? Sound like? Feel like? Smell like?
In the New York/New Jersey region of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, we described our vision for student transformation this way:
We envision a future where students first hear about InterVarsity from campus tour guides who describe us on every tour as the largest and most dynamic student group on campus. During the year, they see people who have an intimate relationship with God and whose actions and attitudes reflect a biblical worldview, a holistic engagement with Scripture and the world, and a growing experience of personal holiness and transformation. They discover that our activities and publicity, members and ministries regularly awaken an awareness of their need for God. They find themselves intrigued by the topics of the large group meetings, compelled to attend special events, and strangely drawn to the vibrant prayer meetings and bible studies. Because they each know two or three InterVarsity members, they have been invited – sensitively, relevantly, and clearly – to become a follower of Jesus at least once or twice before they graduate. And they know each InterVarsity member can name at least 2-3 friends on campus who have made that same decision. Because InterVarsity exists, students give their allegiance and love to Jesus – and become witnesses to the way the Holy Spirit grows them in Christlikeness and empowers them for mission.
Clear enough for you?
Next Step: Take the vision statement of a group you belong to (as an employee, member, or leader) and write a “vivid description” of what you aspire to accomplish. Share it in the comments below.