Tag Archive for: Vision

Where Does Momentum Come From?

Where does momentum come from? And how is it created? These are good questions. I’ve been wrestling with these questions for some time and do not have the answers to them.  However, I know this, everybody wants it personally and organizationally. People might say momentum comes from the Holy Spirit. They would be right. They would also be wrong. Momentum is a sign that the Holy Spirit is moving through a gifted group of people. But momentum is also a sign that a specific group of people are working intentionally to create outcomes they want to see happen within their context.

Nothing is random when it comes to momentum, everything is intentional. But two things are for sure when creating momentum.

  1. Unity among the team = ownership of the vision
    • People who own the vision have an emotional connection with it.
    • People who own the vision contribute to it with their finances, labor and ideas.
    • People who own the vision will sacrifice faithfully for it.
  2. Every team player must be a doer = a driver of the vision
    • A driver of the vision is one who looks for opportunities to enhance, expand and grow it.
    • A driver of the vision is more concerned about what we can do, rather than what we can’t do.
    • A driver of the vision are the ones who breaks the rules, think outside the box and hates average thinking.

Look around your team. A key indicator amongst individuals that own and drive the vision are those that can influence and make things happen. There’s too many leaders in ministry today that talk all the time, but never produce. They have tons of seminary knowledge, but no fruit. They love meetings…all kinds of meetings: prayer meetings, staff meetings, board meetings, conference meetings, revival meetings, etc. And, with all those meetings, nothing changes. Everything within that organizational culture or context just becomes another meeting, another service or another church activity with no traction or momentum. If you want to kill momentum in your ministry context, hire or recruit the people that talk all the time, but never own or drive your vision. But if you want to create more momentum, then recruit leaders that get it done. These type of leaders will do anything but sin, to drive your vision forward.

When we talk about momentum there is so much to be said on how to create it from different perspectives. But I believe the most basic principle is to surround yourself with the leaders that will own it and drive it with everything they have. Leaders who own it and drive it will produce momentum in your organization. The question is who are they and where are they? Who is intentionally creating it? Who is unintentionally killing it? I’ll never forget the Jim Collins principle from his book, “Good to Great” It’s time to get the right people on the bus. You might have the right people, but in the wrong seats. It’s amazing what a little game of musical chairs on a bus can do to create stronger momentum in your organization.

Your Thoughts?

Making Vision Portable

Ever been part of a company or church organization and you’ve quietly asked yourself, what is the vision here? What are we trying to accomplish? In more times than not, if you are asking yourself that question, probably other people are asking it too.

When people say the name of your church or business, what is the first thing they think of? If people are having a hard time explaining the organization’s vision – than vision is not sticking. Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church, Atlanta, GA, says, “For vision to stick it must be portable, memorable and motivational.”

When you think of Nike, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Just Do It. Phil Knight, the founder and CEO of Nike suffused his company culture along with their advertising campaign with the idea of the intense, inwardly focused competitor. The “Just Do It” campaign captured the Nike’s corporate philosophy of grit, determination and passion. Why? Because it was portable, memorable and motivational.

In prior years, we watched the national election campaigns. What was Barack Obama’s platform and vision for America? Change We Can Believe In. What was John McCain’s? I really can’t remember it, do you? What was Hillary Clinton’s? Don’t remember hers either. But all of us can remember Obama’s vision and campaign platform. Whether you agree or disagree with Obama’s politics is beside the point, because in the end, the Obama campaign made their vision portable, memorable and motivational.

How do you make vision portable?

1. Focus Your Vision – It’s been said, “If you can’t manage it, you can’t measure it.” Just because you have a nice slogan on your website, business card or banner doesn’t mean your organization has a thriving vision. If you look at what some organizations are doing and measure it against their claims, what you’ll find is often inconsistency. You can manage and measure focused vision, but not unfocused vision. Too many church and business organizations are doing too little by doing way too much. Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great referenced the ancient Greek parable of “The Fox and the Hedgehog.” Day after day, the cunning fox plans his attack on the unsuspected hedgehog. No matter how creative the fox is, the hedgehog always wins. Why? The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog only knows one big thing. Each time the fox attacks; the hedgehog simply rolls up into a ball of sharp spikes, creating an impenetrable defense. It’s what he does best. So, I ask you, what can you be the best at? The only way to create a focused vision is by focusing on the few things that you do very well. Identifying and strengthening what you are good at will help create that focused vision. Always remember, Less is More.

2. Cast Your Vision – Casting vision is a never-ending responsibility for any leader. Just when you think your vision has been casted enough, cast it one more time! But cast it strategically. Define what your vision is and who and what it is supposed to effect. Just when you think you’ve thoroughly explained the vision, it’s time to start over and communicate it again. You can never over communicate your vision.

3. Celebrate Your Vision – Develop a process systemically within your organization to celebrate your vision in its successes. Rejoice with your team when someone makes a home run for your organization.  Reward those who live-out the vision. Celebrating vision is simply reminding people where you are going by pointing out real life examples of individuals on your team that’s driving your vision forward.

At the end of the day, vision doesn’t become portable, memorable and motivational just because of a fancy slogan or a slick advertising campaign. Vision becomes portable by the way you focus it, cast it and celebrate it. When vision is portable it becomes contagious! That is my prayer for you and your organizations’ that you will lead with contagious vision.

Your Thoughts?

Serving Hearts & Resilient Vision

I meet a lot of young people all the time. And, one of the qualities I find is that many of them have lots of vision and lots of great ideas. That’s a really good thing.  I love to meet and build relationships with other young leaders who have big vision, dreams and cool ideas for the future.  In my opinion, that’s the way it should be in any student ministry or college campus.

But, here’s something I’ve been finding and maybe you’ve been identifying with when working with young leaders (I’m including myself in this as I ask this question.)

Young leaders may have lots of vision and cool ideas, but do they have any resilient vision?

After I finished college from a well-known Christian university, this question became clear to me. Having a vision, dream or a cool idea doesn’t entitle you to lead it, just because you had a vision, dream or cool idea. Because first of all, it’s not your vision, it’s God’s and you serve Him to bring His will to earth.

I’m reminded of the story of David in the Bible. (Read 1 Samuel 16-17).  And we all know the story, when David received his purpose and vision for his life when Samuel anointed him to be King. David was looked upon as the youngest and irrelevant kid in the household or in other words as someone of very little importance.  Let’s break down the line of events between the time David discovered his vision and when he stepped into it. And, through this process let’s try to identify the key denominators the kept David moving forward.

  • David serving in his Fathers House (1 Sam 16:11)
  • David discovers his vision and anointed to be King (1 Sam 16:12-13)
  • David served Saul by ministering to him (1 Sam 16:23)
  • David served his brothers by bringing food to them (1 Sam 17:17-18)
  • David solved a problem for his leader, Saul – David killed Goliath (1 Sam 17: 45-51)
  • David’s popularity and national influence grew throughout all over Israel (1 Sam 18: 6-7)
  • Saul resented David for helping him solve his problem (1 Sam 18:8)
  • David kept serving his leader with music (1 Sam 18:10)
  • Saul tries to kill David (1 Sam 19)
  • David spares Saul’s life (1 Sam 24:3-4, 9-10)
  • David spares Saul’s life a second time (1 Sam 26: 5-11)
  • David becomes King over Israel (2 Sam 5 1-4)

Now, these are a lot of events in David’s life. But, let me pull out a three tests that David experienced through this time line.

1.The Serving Test – Look and see how many times David served throughout his life. It was before he discovered his vision and after. It was before he killed the giant and become a national influencer and after. And, he kept on serving Saul before he started to resent him and afterwards.

Vision doesn’t carry any weight or resilience just because you say that you have one. You must have a heart that doesn’t mind to serve quietly and humbly in someone else’s vision. If you can’t, then your vision and cool ideas will hold no weight or substance to them.  The first thing every leader is called to be is a servant-leader. This is the foundation on where your vision will stand.

2.The Problem Solving Test – God has put us on this earth to take dominion in it. And, I believe part of that process is helping others solve problems, come up with solutions, eliminate giants and obstacles that stand in the way of a fellow leader or one that is in authority – pastor, employer, etc… In this situation David became the solution for Saul and all of Israel’s biggest problems – Goliath and the Philistine armies.

Sometimes, I see a whole lot of young leaders with a whole lot of vision and passion, but not a whole lot of credibility. Why? Because, they haven’t done anything yet. Until, you can help solve someone else problems and eliminate someone else obstacles – your leadership and vision will have no credibility.  The best way to contribute value and build credibility around your vision and leadership is by humbly, creatively and sometimes boldly and aggressively become the solution to someone else’s headache.

3. The Persecution Test – It’s amazing to me that after you’ve established yourself as a servant-leader and then as a problem solver that can get things done, this one always comes up next. It’s bound to happen, so just get ready for it and get used to it. It’s part of the journey. This has been proven throughout history and is happening right now among people in the Body of Christ.

People at all different levels of influence will come against and be insecure around you after you have established a trend through your personal leadership that can get things done.  In my personal life, I’ve had pastors and church leaders gossip behind my back and try to slander my reputation, even after serving faithfully in their organizations. I’ve had friends turn away from me because I had to make tough, unpopular decisions. Was it hard? Yes! Did it hurt? Painfully! But, guess what, I’m still here, alive, laughing and smiling – because of what Jesus did through all of it!

The fact is the persecution test is going to happen to every leader. And, it will happen from those that are the closest to you — a friend, a family member, a church leader, etc…Going through this builds even more resilience inside your vision. When other people tried to reshape my identity, change who I was and persecute my vision, God was using it to build even greater identity, endurance, and purpose inside of my vision. When Saul started to resent and then later try to kill David – God was testing David’s heart and was building inside of his vision, resilient leadership.

These three tests will come over and over again throughout your journey. And, when they do, just remember, God is doing several things in your life:

  • Creating a servants heart in you: The Serving Test
  • Establishing credibility around you: The Problem- Solving Test
  • Building endurance and resilience within you: The Persecution Test

Your Thoughts?

Boundaries & Accountability – Part 3 (Financial Purpose)

Now, before we get started, I just want to go on record and say I’m not an expert in financial coaching. I will leave the financial coaching to guys I respect in the field like Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University. But, I do believe that having financial boundaries are extremely important. I believe that financial boundaries ignite purpose with your resources.

That’s why the Bible says in Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no vision; people cast of restraint.”

Where there are no boundaries, there is no restraint. And, where there is no restraint there is no vision.

You would be surprised at the people I have met throughout my life, very well known people I might add, who are always in trouble financially. They spend money they don’t have. And I’ve seen the opposite, people who have tons of money, but don’t drive their resources with any purpose or vision attached with it. They just spend and spend and spend. If they like it, they buy it. If they want it, they get it. And if both parties spend money they either do or don’t have…in the end they both become consumer driven individuals who have no vision with their financial resources.

I’ve seen poor and middle-class families become better visionaries over their resources then some rich families. And, I’ve seen rich families who are great stewards and vision developers with their resources than poor and middle-class families. It’s not an annual salary or your choice of career that determines your financial purpose; it’s your mindset on how you view money and how you manage it to serve your vision.

Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Suggested Financial Purpose and Boundaries:
•    10% – Tithe to your church
•    10% – Tithe to your household (Savings)
•    10% – Tithe to your vision (ministry, business venture, project, missions etc…)
•    70% – Live off the rest

What are some of your thoughts on how to build healthy financial boundaries for you and your household?

Stubborn with Vision; Flexible with Plans

Several years ago, I had the opportunity along with a few other college students to interview Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, GA. If you know me real well, you know that I am a huge Andy Stanley fan, so having this opportunity to sit in a small room with him and ask him any question I wanted was probably one of the most thrilling and rewarding moments of my life. He made this statement I will never forget, “Be Stubborn with your Vision, but be Flexible with your Plans.” We as young leaders have a lot of big dreams, cool ideas and vision for the future. But, then there comes that other thing….The Plan to make it happen.

The plan is needed so you can communicate to your family, friends and potential partners on “Where” and “How” your going to pull your vision into reality.  Vision communicates “The What” and “The Why” that drives “the How.” New ventures involve risk and more so with an unstable economy these days. When things don’t go according to plan, it doesn’t necessarily mean your vision is wrong or inaccurate for your life, it just means you need shift your plans, not your vision.

Let’s say, God gave you a vision to start a Children’s home project in Africa. And, you needed to raise the first phase of funding of $50K from US supporters. And, lets say you were only able to raise $20K before the deadline. So, what do you do then? You still need another $30K. At this stage of the game, I’ve seen people begin to question God’s vision to continue with the journey, because things didn’t go according to plan. Some would even say, maybe God is trying to teach me something. Yea, like how to adjust and change your fundraising strategy, not your vision.


God will give us the wisdom and insight to fulfill His vision that He birthed in our hearts. This is where dependence on God comes in. It’s His vision to begin with, which means it will take His wisdom to orchestrate the plans to get it done. Just because the plans aren’t working out, doesn’t mean the vision isn’t from God. God will use these times to strengthen His wisdom and resilience inside of you. Be stubborn with your vision, but be flexible with your plans. Which means sometimes you will have to change your plans many times until your vision becomes a reality.

Thomas Edison had a vision to invent the light bulb. But it took him over 1,000 different plans to finally make it work. If Thomas had any modern and mediocre church friends around him back in the 1800’s, somebody would have probably come by his house and say, “Thomas, what do you think God is trying to tell you? Maybe the light bulb isn’t working because there is some sin in your life or maybe you’re not supposed to invent the light bulb.” I can totally hear some Christians today saying that to Thomas if he were alive today. But, I love his response to his critics.

“I haven’t failed 1,ooo times. I have successfully discovered 1,000 ways (or plans) on how not to make a light bulb.” – Thomas Edison.

Whatever God has called you to do,you must Be stubborn with your vision, but flexible with your plans.  We must burn this principle inside our skulls.

Your Thoughts?