You’ve been in that conversation before. The one where you’re talking with someone about a particular topic and you think you’re chatting about the same thing. But as the conversation goes along you realize you’re not seeing it the same way, and in fact, you might even have drastically different definitions and opinions on the matter. All the married folks are nodding their heads at this point. Remember that session of premarital counseling that encouraged you to use clarifying statements like “what I heard you say”? That advice isn’t just good for marriages—it’s great for leadership as well.
In the church, we can be quick to throw out words, but we don’t always spend the time needed to clarify the definition. It can be easy to agree on the word, but aligning our definitions is a whole other animal. “Vision” is one of those words. It creates compelling images that leaders like to leverage to move the masses. However, “vision” can also be a nebulous word and often leaves everyone creating his or her own definition. And, one of the bigger mistakes I’ve made, and can still make, is giving people leadership too soon. There are many reasons behind it. Sometimes we’re carrying too many things, desperate to off-load some items and if we’re honest, we just need a body. When we make that mistake, we become the guy who’s looking for “Mrs. Right Now” instead of “Mrs. Right”.
Sometimes we give things away too soon because we assume that people understand the fullness of the vision we’re sharing simply because they nod their head and respond while we’re sharing it. One of the challenges we all face is “when can we trust someone with our vision?” It’s the thing that can cause the organization to take steps backward or propel forward and flourish.
When can you really trust someone with your vision? I don’t know if you’ll ever have 100% confidence, but there are some things that can help us along the way. Here are three essential elements we can use to help answer that question.
First, does the person know your values?
Do they know what’s important to you and why? Do they know the key elements of your history and experiences that have shaped you to hold the perspective you have? If people don’t know your values, they’ll always implement their own. That’s not bad, that’s human nature. But when it comes to multiplying vision, it’s di-vision and an organization can’t serve multiple visions. When can you trust someone with your vision? When they know your values.
Second, does the person know your voice?
Your ministry has a unique sound and a unique voice. What makes you unique makes you powerful. Has the person sat under your voice long enough to get it in their spirit so that it comes out of them when they open their mouth? It’s not that everyone has to have the same personality but to have the same voice means that they’re speaking from the same spirit and vocabulary. When can you trust someone with your vision? When they know your voice.
Third, what is the vehicle?
Vision goes beyond a statement about what we do and turns into the vehicle for how it’s accomplished. To clarify the vision is to clarify the vehicle for how it happens. To trust someone with your vision is one the greatest compliment you can give them, but before you throw them the keys you need to know if they understand the values of caring for the car, the voice in talking about the car, and the purpose of the vehicle.
To grow our churches requires that we give away ownership. Sometimes we’re too slow to give it away because we’ve been burned and we’re punishing the next person for the last person’s mistakes. But more often than not we’re giving it away too fast. When can you trust someone with your vision? When they know your voice, your values, and the vehicle.