President George H. W. Bush said that he did not really understand the “vision thing.” Whether this had anything to do with his failure to be elected to a second term is unclear, but we do know that vision continues to be a key word for churches, not-for-profits, and other organizations.
Often these entities confuse strategic planning with vision. The assumption is that if we can identify our vision, then our mission, objectives, and goals will fall in place is flawed.
Danny E. Morris and Charles M. Olsen, the authors of "Discerning God's Will Together: A Spiritual Practice for the Church,” would disagree, especially as vision relates to the church. They write:
"In visioning culture, the role of vision is vital for the community and its leaders. Vision goes beyond strategic planning, because it is rooted in God’s plan for humanity and the world. Vision is the big picture, God’s kingdom, offered by God as a gift.”
True vision empowers, inspires, and transforms. Perhaps the big mistake we make in stating our vision is that we think too small rather than too big. If we are on mission with God, God’s vision far exceeds anything that we might imagine. The missio Dei is nothing less than the redemption of humankind and all that God created.
Embracing God’s vision is the first step toward articulating our own vision.