Editors Note: This is a 2-part series inspired by Andy Stanley’s book Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision. Part 1 outlines elements of a “Vision from God” . Part 2 will offer a personal testimony and explore how to apply it to your marriage and family.
Side Note: You may notice Andy Stanley’s name popping up quite a bit on this blog. Andy happens to be a favorite pastor [of mine] from whom I actively seek sermons and teaching.
Today I finally and officially finished Andy Stanley’s amazing book Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision. Finishing this book has been a journey all in itself. I literally started and stopped this book 5 times during the past 2 years, never once venturing beyond Chapters 1 or 2. Earlier this year I even LOST my wrinkled, worn, highlighted, marked up copy and bought ANOTHER copy of it (you are welcome, Andy).
The reason I had so many false starts with this book is because it caused me to confront parts of my life and personal visions that were not aligned with Christ’s vision for my life/family and His unique creation in me. I still do not have many answers, but I have a lot of information and a construct by which to measure and evaluate the oh-so-heavy concept of “God’s Vision [for my life, family, career, ministry, etc ad infinitum]”.
Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision uses the story of Nehemiah in the Good Book as a background for exploring the birthing and execution of a God-ordained vision. Andy Stanley does a fantastic job of bringing Nehemiah’s journey to life. Nehemiah’s story is particularly intriguing because God does not intervene in any overtly miraculous manners such as parting the Red Sea or protecting mere mortals in a fiery furnace or lion’s den.
Obviously we cannot cover the the entirety of the book in this post. However, I will define the core elements of a God-ordained vision, as defined by Andy. In Part 2 of this series, we will discuss how this concept can apply to your marriage. Also, I will share how my amazing wife and I talked through this daunting and, honestly, scary topic.
What is Visioneering?
Visioneering is a sexy spin on a timeliness concept, cultivating, crafting, and executing a “vision”. A vision is a destination with a plan. It is the course by which you somehow pursue turning dreams into reality. It is the multi-faceted, intentional, and painstaking process whereby ideas and convictions take on substance toward a goal.
VISIONEERING = Inspiration + Conviction + Action + Determination + Completion
“A clear vision, along with the courage to follow through, dramatically increases your chances of coming to the end of your life, looking back with a deep abiding satisfaction, and thinking, ‘I did it. I succeeded. I finished well. My life counted”… toward serving and submitting to our powerful Creator’s plan.
Vision weaves four elements into the fabric of our daily experience, life-journey, and core being. The following Vision Elements are listed in no particular order.
Element 1 – Vision Evokes PASSION
Vision cannot exist without passionate emotion. God-ordained visions invigorate us to our innermost core. Vision is always accompanied by a strong emotions to the point of action. One great example Andy provides: “It is the difference between filling bags with dir and building a dike in order to save a town.”
Through the power of passion, we are enabled to see a picture of what “should be” before anyone else; we are allowed to see into and anticipate the future. Maintaining a vision involves feeling a spiritual and moral imperative of seeing something in the world as it is, and extending it beyond what “could be” into something that “should be”. Once we see something for what it “should be” (as provided and ordained by the Spirit), we cannot imagine the world without it, and we feel empowered to pursue the journey.
Element 2 – Vision Provides MOTIVATION
When we have vision, almost every seemingly menial, mindless, and meaningless task takes on a new life of being important to the mission. “The mundane begins to matter. The details, chored, and routines of life become a worthwhile means to a planned-for end”.
There is a stark difference between “dreams” and “visions”. Dreams are fly-by-night, vapid, non-enduring, and “nice” but non-essential. Visions are a moral imperative that are only realized through sacrifice, sought through Spirit-filled motivation.
Element 3 – Vision Establishes DIRECTION
Dreams are for daydreamers who sit in their recliners thinking through woulda’s, coulda’s and shoulda’s… without ever actually experiencing or pursuing a mission. Dreams lack direction. Direction is a pragmatic and essential reality of any established vision.
This direction is all-encompassing and settles into many aspects of our core self and daily life. Much of our world and day are viewed through the lens of the vision. This lens simplifies our daily decision-making. Any decision that could divert our path away from the vision is tossed away because the vision matters. ANYTHING that gets in the way of the vision must be approached with caution.
Element 4 – Vision Translates into PURPOSE
Andy says it best… “A vision gives you a reason to get up in the morning. If you don’t show up, something important won’t be accomplished”. The vision will not be realized without your participation, submission, sacrifice, and execution. “Without you, what could be — what should be — won’t be”.
A “God-ordained” vision goes beyond the self help and power-of-self mentalities. Anyone who professes to believe in the resurrected Christ as the savior of humanity lost the right to “personal dreams and ambitions” when Christ was brutally murdered on the cross. In our passion for God, the Holy Spirit transforms our hearts to joyfully submit our dreams, plans, and futures to Christ, believe His plan is eternally and holistically “better”.
That said, God has a vision for each of our lives, with which we are called to participate. Every element of a God-ordained vision must be submitted to and supplied by Christ. Christians do not have a right to take our talents, abilities, experiences, opportunities, and education for the glorification of self. We intrinsically desire to “jump on board” God’s vision for our lives because we desire for His will to come to fruition,and because we are honored and humbled to be a part of it.
Every God-supplied vision aligns with his Word and impacts eternity. Unquestionably, every God-supplied vision ultimately points back to and glorifies the power, might, and presence of God.
The Building Blocks of Vision
I have also decided to list Andy’s “20 Building Blocks of Vision“. I am not offering much of a freebie here, these building blocks are articulated throughout the book. BUY THE BOOK! Everything mentioned in this post is literally from the introduction!! Seriously… you need to add this book to your library.
- A vision begins as a concern.
- A vision does not necessarily require immediate action.
- Pray for opportunities and plan as if you expect God to answer your prayers.
- God is using your circumstances to position and prepare you to accomplish his vision for your life.
- What God originates, he orchestrates.
- Walk before you talk; investigate before you initiate.
- Communicate your vision as a solution to a problem that must be addressed immediate.
- Cast your vision to the appropriate people at the appropriate time.
- Don’t expect others to take greater risks or make greater sacrifices than you have.
- Don’t confuse your plans with God’s vision.
- Vision are refined — they don’t change; plans are revised — they rarely stay the same.
- Respond to criticism with prayer, remembrance, and if necessary, a revision of the plan.
- Visions thrive in an environment of unity; they die in an environment of division.
- Abandon the vision before you abandon your moral authority.
- Don’t get distracted.
- There is divine potential in all you envision to do.
- The end of a God-ordained vision is God.
- Maintaining a vision required adherence to a set of core beliefs and behaviors.
- Visions require constant attention.
- Maintaining a vision requires bold leadership.