There are lots of things that frustrate pastors; crying babies, sleeping parishioners, or that one guy in the back who won't stop talking while the pastor is preaching his guts out. Yet there's one thing that tops all frustrations, and that's when he can't see the vision God gave him coming alive within the church. He's cast it, dripped it, and even bled it, but at the end of the day, he stands scratching his head because it appears no one is getting it. There's lots of vision, but little or no execution. Yes, I've been there.
Obviously there's lots of reasons why execution may not be happening. Miscommunication, misalignment with core values, or even communicating the wrong vision are just a few. However, I believe the number one reason visions don't get carried out is because they get stuck, and sometime even die, in the valley. Let me explain.
There is a dangerous area between vision and execution. I call this area Death Valley. On one side of the valley stands the visionary. He is precise and clear to let everyone know WHAT the vision is. No one is confused...not even the guy who always talks in the back during the preaching. The vision is posted all over the church building. You can't go to the bathroom without reading it right above the wall urinal. Everyone also knows the why behind the vision. It's gospel centered and aligns with the Great Commission. The visionary pastor usually succeeds with the what and the why. Where most fail is the HOW.
When the vision falls into death valley there are obvious signs, because inside the valley are pitfalls. Here's what those pitfalls look like.
- Pitfall #1: Statements instead of Movements: You have a vision statement, but no vision movement. When there's no movement, there's no measurable. You cannot grow what you cannot measure. Statements that do not cause movement are worthless. Words will stir emotion; but gospel strategies build devotion.
- Pitfall #2: Micro-Management: When a vision is stuck in death valley, there are no clear steps to execution. Therefore the only one who knows how to execute the vision is the visionary himself. This means he or she must be involved every step of the way. While everyone knows the what and why, no one knows the how. Soon, the visionary becomes burned-out and frustrated.
- Pitfall #3: Maverick Leadership: When the "how to" part of the vision isn't clear, others will rise in an attempt to execute the vision; most with great intentions, but with the wrong leadership. This usually results in division.
- Pitfall #4: Egypt Mentality: When people try to execute the what and the why of vision, without the how, the end result is usually failure. And when people fail due to lack of clarity, they typically want to go back to Egypt, or in other words, revert back to the old ways of doing things because it's much safer and predictable This causes churches to get stuck.
The answer is to build a bridge of strategies and systems that lead to execution and avoid Death Valley all together.
So...build good solid bridges to execution and you'll keep your vision out of death valley.
Be sure to check out other resources at The Unstuck Group