Every community must have a commonly held vision. Without such, they cannot agree on their specific individual actions because they will not have any shared idea of what should be done when they don’t know where they are going. So what constitutes a vision?
- Quite plainly, it is something “seen.” Visions cannot be so broad, general, or fuzzy that they cannot be seen as something that can become real. A vision able to be held commonly must first of all is something more than one person can “see” in their mind.
- The first implies secondly that the vision has enough specific details in place that specific actions begin to become clear in the fleshing out of that vision. As one friend recently wrote, “Glorifying God in all we do” is a wonderful goal, but it does not become a vision until it begins to compel real and specific “next steps.” Specifically what kind of actions will a school do in seeking to glorify the Lord?
But lest we think a vision is simply an action plan, I will now put some paradox into my definition. A good vision, one that will compel folks to join together and seek to bring it to pass, must always be larger than what is practically possible at the moment. This needs more discussion.
- If the vision is too small, it becomes simply a project that at some point is “finished” and then all forward motion comes to a halt.
- If the vision is too grandiose, folks despair that it can ever be even partially accomplished or brought to pass, and they stop trying.
- So there is a moderate size for a vision – large enough to keep things moving forward, small enough to be possible.
- I think the best means of accomplishing this size is by focusing on “what ought to be” rather than “what might or could be.”
- In the end, on Judgment Day, our Lord will be asking if we sought to do that which is right, not that which is practical or possible. Thus the vision for a school must always focus on what a school ought to be, biblically speaking, rather than simply what will get the most folks in the door, or keep the bills paid, or simply be sustainable in the moment. I think that might in fact be a good working definition for true leadership.
The implications for building, maintaining, and pursuing such a vision are many, and the stuff of another blog.