This entry is based on my over twenty-five years of leadership experience and insights gleaned from Andy Stanley’s book entitled, “Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision”, published by Multnomah Books, October 2005.
Visioneering is Andy Stanley’s take on the process of conceiving, birthing, nurturing and fulfilling vision. Arriving at a destination by accident doesn’t require much planning, as a matter of fact planning is actually frowned upon. But, on the other hand, arriving at a specific destination on purpose requires attention to detail, determination, passion and the art of grasping the larger picture. This is called vision.
The conception of a vision is usually birthed out of frustration with the status quo. Tired of doing things the same way we’ve always done them and daily facing that inward cry that says, “There is more!”. That place ahead in the distance that you may not be able to see, but your gut tells you it’s there waiting. The place where you know you can achieve better, more efficiently, more effectively and with more fulfillment. When this frustration gets to a certain point of discontent it becomes a launching point for your vision.
Vision isn’t satisfied with merely the idea of change, it demands that it be the central force of change. Vision is powerful, yet requires great care in it’s formation. Three steps Andy points out in regards to the timing of vision are 1) to allow the vision to come to a maturation within the visioneer; 2) that we allow maturity to take root in us; and 3) that we anticipate God’s working behind the scenes.
Andy warns that even though it is imperative to allow the vision to marinate, it is equally important not to allow it to set too long without checking on its progress and taking necessary action in order to stimulate life and growth! If not given proper attention and care the vision is in danger of dying. Once a vision dies it is very difficult to resurrect as trust may be broken and doubt may ensue, giving way to fear of failure, hence the death of a dream.
A divine vision is always greater in scope than that of the visioneer. If it is within reach, it usually isn’t a vision, but rather a task that is attainable with little effort. Now that being said, if taken in proper context these “reachable micro-visions” can in fact be the assembly of the greater vision. This is as long as the greater vision is still the end goal and doesn’t get lost in the busyness of fulfilling the more menial tasks of micro-vision accomplishment.
The key component in vision attainment is faith. It may sound cliche, but in fact it is the glue that holds vision together. Some may have faith in their abilities and varied skill levels, but the faith of the Christian is placed in a force greater than any skill set the visioneer may possess him/herself. The Christian visioneer trusts in the hope that God is the one responsible for placing the vision within their heart so He alone is able to equip, provide and mature the vision until it comes to fruition fulfilling His intended purpose. For the Christian, faith in the Creator is what keeps the vision alive, in-spite of the many obstacles that barrage the process.
I appreciate Andy reminding the reader of the need not to confuse our “plans” with God’s “vision”. He identifies a vision is “what could and should be”. But a plan is “a guess as to the best way to accomplish the vision”. If I may make an observation based on my personal experience, I have learned that everything birthed from the heart of man is at best only a plan. A diluted, fading image of that which is just a guess as to what we think is the best way to fulfill a vision, a vision that we are are not even fully clear on ourselves.
Yet, when then visioneer is poised in prayer, mediation and intimate fellowship with the Creator the conception is pure and the birthing is celebratory. Delivered by the Holy Spirit, the vision is now Holy, unscathed by the human heart and ready for fulfillment to the ultimate glory of Christ.
Regardless where you may be in the visioneering process, remember that God knows the end already, and to successfully accomplish that which He has placed in your heart requires a release of custody transferring ownership back to the visions’ original author.
“Entrust your labor to God, and He will establish the plans He has placed in your heart.” Proverbs 16:3
Thanks to Andy Stanley for his insightful perspective on the responsibility of Visioneering.