4 Tips to Casting a Compelling Vision

casting vision
Flickr – Ken Teegardin

Every leader needs to be able to cast vision. Casting vision is about painting such a compelling picture of the future that others are willing to follow you on the journey that you’re on. So whether you’re a church planter gathering your launch team, a pastor working on a building plan, a contractor focused on a renovation, or a parent needing to deal with your child’s behavior, being able to cast a compelling vision is leadership 101.

Here are a few tips on casting vision:

  1. Start with prayer. Every great vision is birthed in the prayer closet. If you want to cast a great vision, you need first receive a vision from God. Meditate on the Scriptures, journal and pray for your city, do this with others on your launch team and/or leadership team. I have done this multiple time for the churches and ministries that I’ve been a part of leading, and it’s always started with prayer.
  2. Cast the problem and create tension. Have you ever considered why every story has an antagonist? Or how about the fact that the best stories seem to always have crises’? People won’t listen to your vision unless it answers a tangible problem. So share the problem that your vision will answer. Create tension as you explain the problem as well. People will pay more attention to the vision that you will be presenting.
  3. Share a story about the future. When you cast vision, share it as a story. This will draw people into the future that you’re painting, since we all love narratives and stories. This will also put flesh on your vision so that your vision doesn’t become a stale poster on the wall that is revisited once a year. Furthermore, when you share your vision as a story, it will become more memorable and relatable for your people.
  4. Corporately personalize the vision. Many people stop after they have shared their vision. By doing this, you are losing a prime opportunity to move people to action. Instead, once you cast your vision, take one more step and explain how your people can personalize it. For example, what type of personal commitment can they make towards helping that vision become reality? Or, who can they share the vision with? This seems like a simple step, but it will result in great dividends as you strive to bring life to your vision.

Casting vision is not a simple endeavor, it’s more of an art form, than a science. So practice, practice, and practice. Practice writing out your vision, sharing it with others, and reciting it in front of a video camera. Don’t give up because the moment you are able to cast a vision that’s compelling enough for others to follow you, it’s like you’re providing glasses to the blind. People begin seeing the future for the first time.

Flip the Classroom to Train Your Church Leaders [Video]

A few months ago, I wrote a post on 4 Ways to “Flip the Classroom” in Your Church. You can read the article here, but since then, I’ve been in countless conversations regarding this and the future of training for church leaders and church planters. I’ve had the privilege of presenting this both at conferences as well as in individual conversations. As a result, here’s a video version of the idea.

How To Choose A Children’s Bible

Children's Bible

Being a father of three children and a pastor, I take my children’s spiritual life seriously. After all, Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” As important as it is to be a part of a church that has a good children’s program, I cannot fully rely on the church to cultivate my children’s spiritual life. It’s first and foremost my responsibility.

In fact, when you look at Joshua 1:8 and Deut 6:4-9, you discover the critical connection between Bible reading and a child’s spiritual life.

Joshua 1:8 – This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do

Deut 6:4-9 – Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

So my hope, through this post, is to help you navigate through the plethora of children’s Bibles out there. Now obviously, this isn’t all there is, but I do believe that this is a good sampling.

When you look at the image above, I’ve plotted the Bibles according to their difficulty/maturity level and the level of engagement that my children displayed when I read it to them. As a father and a pastor, a good children’s Bible does not only have to be theologically accurate, but it also must convey the Scriptures in an engaging manner at the right maturity level.

So here are my reviews: [Read more…]

10 Reasons Systems Matter for Church Planting

Yasunari Nakamura - Flickr
Yasunari Nakamura – Flickr

There are no perfect models, and there is no silver bullet. Many models are useful though.

What’s fascinating is that two church planters can use the exact same model in the same city and get vastly varying results. Notice that I said the same model, but I didn’t mention anything about the systems that each church planter used. For example, let’s consider the Dodge Charger that police drive versus the Dodge Charger that you can drive off the lot. Although, at first glance, they both look like the same car, the performance between the two is like night and day. For police cars, not only do they upgrade the engine, but they also change out the battery, alternator, cooler, suspension, brakes, and many other components that make up the car. Essentially, the model or framework of the car is the same, but everything that makes up the car, which are its systems, are different.

I realize this isn’t a perfect example, but it illustrates the importance of systems, as the next step, in church planting. This is a natural next step for those of you who are highly detailed and systematic. However, what I’ve found is that many church planters are weak in this area. As a result, church planters will often think about their church planting model at a 30,000 foot level and work on many of the aspects needed to plant successfully, instead of working in those aspects. If all the work is done on the plant, instead of in the plant, then planters will not have any control over the systems that are shaping it; and that will ultimately determine the fate of their church plant. For example, working on the plant is all about thinking through the location, name, logo, and vision statement. Working in the plant is about thinking through financial sustainability, church structure, launch team, and the intricacies of congregational formation, and long-term discipleship.

I’m not advocating that you take care of every single detail yourself, but I am advocating that you involve yourself at every step of the process. If God has called you to plant a church, he has called you to be the steward of this vision. Don’t neglect your responsibilities and don’t delegate the details.

What would happen if you were stubborn and decided to leave systems to chance?

[Read more…]

New Churches: Multiply the Mission

new-churches-logo

Currently, a significant trend in the U.S., Canada, and around the world is a renewed emphasis on starting new churches. More than 4,000 new churches are launched in the U.S. each year alone, each one representing the potential to reach new people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

However, new churches commonly struggle with limited resources, a lack of trained volunteers and few tools to support their work. Even more, these limitations can often be the most detrimental to churches in their very first years.

But LifeWay and the initiative that I’m leading through New Churches is committed to help.

For churches in their first two years of operation, LifeWay has a variety of free offerings to help get a few of the foundational aspects of ministry in place. This includes helps for:

  • Bible Study Groups (6 months of digital curriculum for all age groups)
  • Church Website: twenty:28 (Free website design and 1 year of hosting)
  • Leadership Development (1 year access to Ministry Grid, LifeWay’s new web-based training platform)
  • LifeWay eGiving $0 month + 2.75% + .30 per transaction. Plus, no set-up fee for text giving
  • LifeWay Envelope Service– 600 free offering envelopes
  • Plus, $500 in free printed LifeWay resources of the church’s choosing

To qualify to receive the free offers above, simply complete the form here at New Churches.