What is a vision?

We had a guest keynote speaker at work today. He asked ‘what is vision?’

If, like me, you also suffer from presentation fatiguetitus, this is when you start to feel your energy drain to your feet. I slump a little, folded my arms and braced myself for the obligatory I’d like you to ‘discuss this in groups’.

Like the well trained pew fodder we are, the audience dutifully got on with the discussion. And then, right on cue, the speaker, yes the one who just asked us to have a discussion, but now completely ignoring everything said in groups, begins to answer his own question… “it’s an idealised image of a desired future state. It’s the purpose that motivates you to keep going. It’s something that inspires passion. It’s something I have. It’s something you need”.

As the speaker enthusiastically persevered with his attempt to make the audience accept the need for a vision, I tune out… On the contrary, ‘vision’ I thought, could simply mean the ability to see something in the moment. To discern how underlying assumptions shape reality. To notice how power is used in the moment. To see how certain voices are privileged and others ignored in the moment. More importantly, to discern if what is being made in conversation is life-giving and honouring to all, and if not, to invite self and others to co-create a more grace-full world.

Christian Leaders : Does your Vision Statement or Strategic Plan meet the Psalm 23 test?

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Does it acknowledge the Lord? Does it reflect needs rather than wants?

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters,

Is it task-focussed, driven by human (you) endeavour? Or is led by God and characterised by His easy yoke and peace?

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Is it restorative, just and gives glory to God?

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Is it based ON God-given en-COURAGE-ment?

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Is it overflowing with God’s love?

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Is it life-giving?