Vision is an essential leadership quality in any realm. Corporate, community, congregational and personal leadership demands that there is a compelling vision. How do we distinguish between vision from a secular perspective and a Biblical perspective? The difference is that a Christian’s vision is powered by Prophetic Imagination.

Vision is usually spoken about as “the next level” in an organization’s development or what the organization will look like or accomplish in 5, 10 or 15 years. Over the last 20 years I have led numerous visioning sessions with growing business and major corporations. We always have industry trends, market analysis, sales performance reviews, skill set analysis of rising stars and succession plans for those who are on the way to retirement. The facts and trends drive the vision in these environments.

My visioning and strategic mapping sessions with congregations initially began with the same process. I started to realize after about the third session that the same criteria did not work for the church. I researched what other church consultants were doing and realized that their processes were either so overwhelming that the document was collecting dust in a file or so light that there was no difference between having a secular strategic session. I soon realized the missing ingredients. God’s work in the congregational visioning process had been eliminated with the corporate model. In order to have a vision that was truly appropriate for a congregation the process must be centered on the Great Visionary rather than the facts, figures, spreadsheets and trends.

Here are the bullet point differences and the solution.

Corporate Visions can be developed through group process because the focus and time necessary to engage the process is also a part of their job. Congregations are powered by volunteers that can not engage the process in the same manner.


  • The pastor must have significant time alone with God to discern God’s vision for the congregation and communicate the vision in terms of what was received through prayer, studying the scriptures, meditation and reflection. This model is also Biblical. Nehemiah was inspired by God not a committee. God spoke to Moses through the burning bush not the church council. Elijah, David, Solomon, Jeremiah, Daniel and Samuel spoke on God’s behalf after time alone with God. Jesus modeled sharing a vision in how He unfolded, demonstrated and modeled the vision for three years.
  • A congregational vision must be compelling. If it does not create passion for the members it will not be sustained.
  • A congregational vision must push the boundaries of their own natural limitations to the point of trusting in God alone for the fulfillment of the vision. Spiritual disciplines should be a regular part of the community achieving God’s vision.
  • The entire vision should be presented in one setting. The individual phases should be rolled out over a period of time. I am convinced that marketing strategies and new product implementation courses should be contextualized for seminary and required.
  • The vision must be written so that others can pick up the vision even if the pastor is itinerant.
  • The vision must be communicated often and in many different formats.
  • Your leaders must have a reason to buy into the vision and communicate it to the community of faith and the community at large.
  • The vision must be communicated for the various styles of learning.