Vision is vital to anyone, whether you’re an individual or an organization. It’s also scriptural. The most often-cited vision passage is Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no prophetic vision, the people cast off restraint.” Having vision–a larger purpose, a greater focus, a deeper sense of where one is going–keeps people and organizations on track.
We spend so much of our life in the weeds, don’t we? Head down, pedaling hard, dealing with the busyness of life? When I played football in high school, our coaches had a fun little game meant to toughen us up, but which is banned nowadays in our concussion-aware society. It was called “Bull in the Ring.” One guy stood in the middle while everyone else formed a circle around him. Each guy in the circle had a number, and the coach would yell out the numbers randomly. When your number was called, you would run in and hit the guy in the middle as hard as you could. The idea was for the guy in the middle to develop spontaneous spatial awareness and ready himself for the hit, but it often resulted in the guy being blindsided. A lot of life is feeling like the guy in the middle: looking around, just trying to ready ourselves for what’s coming next, and hoping we don’t get blindsided. In that common state, it’s hard not to lose sight of the big picture: what’s really important, our future, or God’s plan for our lives.
That’s why we need vision. Vision is like Superman: swooping in and grabbing us by the nape of the neck while we’re the bull in the ring, and flying us up to 30,000 feet so we can see the whole playing field. Vision gives us perspective, telling us that the work in the weeds actually amounts to something, and has meaning and a purpose. Vision gives hope, helping us see there’s more to life than the weeds and the ring, and that God is working through us to accomplish a plan and a purpose that is so much greater than the ordinariness of our days. And, as the Scripture says, vision gives restraint, because it guides and directs our current lives, as we work toward a brighter future.
Where does vision come from? The business gurus and books tell you that vision comes from leaders’ dreams of a brighter future; from scanning the landscape around us, what’s called an “environmental scan,” and determining what’s needed, and how things could be better; seeing what’s been done in other contexts and worked well, and applying it to one’s own life or organization. All this is hard to do, and leaders who “have vision,” who can do it, are prized. I think it contributes a great deal to the modern idolatry of leaders.
For the Christian, however, whether it’s a man leading his family, a young person thinking about his or her future, or the organizational leader, vision is different. It isn’t man-generated; it doesn’t come from the mind and heart of man, or at least it shouldn’t. If it does, it’s probably due for humbling failure. For the Christian, the spiritual leader, I think Henry Blackaby said it best: vision is revelation. It comes from God. He gives it to you. He shows you what the future will look like. He may do it through glimpses, or concepts, or ideas, but it comes from His mind to yours.
It comes as a result of getting alone and spending time with Him, in whatever time He ordains that it will take. It may be quick, or it may take a long time. It may be in one, intense sitting, or it may be progressive: little glimpses over a long period that come together in one picture. Regardless of how it comes, it has to come from Him, and we have to do the sometimes hard work of seeking Him and asking Him for it. He wants to give it, but we have to ask.
That’s what has been happening at Grace over the past year. God has been revealing tiles to us, little pictures of what our school’s future will be, through answers to prayer, circumstances, and ideas. Over the last several months, He has formed those tiles together into an exciting, beautiful mosaic. I shared this vision with the school board, and they prayed through it, challenged it based upon what God was revealing to them, and refined it. We went through this same process with our school’s leadership team and the elders of our church. The fruit of this process, God’s vision for our school, is a part of the State of the School address I shared this past week with our school family. You can click here to watch it, if you missed it. My prayer is that it will encourage, strengthen, challenge, and comfort you as we walk alongside together daily as a community, teaching Jesus to our children, and praying for God to make His vision a reality in our lives, and the life of our school.
Jay Ferguson writes regularly on his blog, The Head and The Heart.