I had an AHA! moment when I was considering (with some trepidation) how I could best use my time with a group of amazing leaders. I wanted to help them find another gear as an organization. They were a vibrant international church in the heart of Winnipeg that had the audacious habit of asking Jesus what He had for them next! I had been exposed to a variety of approaches to vision development and clarification- but they tended to not really grab the hearts of people.
Then it hit me- I should walk them through a process of story-based visioning. When we finished our sessions for the day I had some of them share about the impact it had on them. I was happy to hear that people had tapped into their deepest desires- those things that they were self-motivated and passionate about doing. People made comments such as, “I have returned to my first love” and “I have new motivation to use my business for kingdom purposes.”
I knew that we had struck a cord because many of the people who shared their story-based vision wept as they spoke about their family, their ministry and their church. We had moved beyond your typical committee meeting. These people were world changers discovering their God-given destiny.
Story-based visioning helps you, your family or your organization:
- Pursue your dreams rather than the dreams of others
- Picture your desired future
- Plan for concrete action steps in the direction of your vision
- Tap into things you are willing to do even if no one is pushing you
- Get to the heart of your calling
- Build a customized vision that is unique to your strengths and positioning
Here’s how it works:
- Write down the story or testimony do you want to be sharing with people two years from now– I had the leaders write down what that conversation would look like. What do you most desire to see happen in your family, your job, your community, your church and your world. One woman who helped co-lead the young adult ministry in the church said, “I’m sitting at a cafe in Paris because we have been able to take our long awaited holiday. The young adults in the church have been raised up through our mentoring program and they are now taking the lead. We are marvelling at how they have picked up the torch and we are enjoying our cappuccino!” More than anything, they desired to see young adult leaders raised up and taking ownership of that ministry. This story provided the target that they should be aiming at.
- Share your story with others– There is power in verbalizing your vision to people who you trust. Sometimes hold a very ‘doable’ vision inside and do not pursue it because they are afraid to make the bold move of sharing the vision. When you share the vision with the right people you will find them nodding in agreement, letting you know that you can do it and perhaps even offering contacts/resources for you to access to fulfill the vision. When this is done in a leadership group context you begin to see themes emerge that lead you to the heart of what God has called the organization to accomplish. For example, one woman wept as she spoke of what it would be like as her loved ones made a decision to follow Christ. Her vocalization of that moment helped to crystallize the church’s commitment to impact those that were closest to them.
- Plan to make the vision a reality– I explained to the leaders that their budget planning, prayer strategy, professional development planning, etc. needed to focus on the the story-based vision they shared. Too often we are actually making daily decisions and setting priorities that lead us into the peripheral and away from what we truly want. The team had the job of filtering through their results and coming up with action steps that would position them to actually be telling the stories they want to tell in two years. Dare to dream. Plan to see the dream become a reality.
As always, I am available to work with teams to guide this process. You can contact me at robparkman [at] live [dot] ca
Question: Take some time and try story-based visioning by yourself, with your spouse or with your team. Let us know if it helped you! You can leave a comment by clicking here.