New Terrain

No matter where you are in life, you can probably say, “Wow! I’ve never been here before. Life has thrown some things at me, but I’ve never felt like this before.” It seems that even in our “normal” everyday lives, there’s still always something new – something different that turns things at a new angle so it all seems new. Consequently, we’re always breaking new ground – walking into uncharted territory. New terrain is normal – it’s what we do, if we’re alive. This means we’ve gotta always be ready for the unexpected and it also means that life is truly an adventure.

During our time at my mom’s house for the hurricane evacuation, I was watching Kasen and learned something about new terrain. Let me explain: He has been walking for about a month, but he’s still working on it. He still stumbles around a bit when there’s an incline or a little step – or if he’s going from concrete to grass, etc. stepping-stones2My mom has a concrete porch in the back of her house with stepping stones in the grass leading to another bricked area with a porch swing. The weather was beautiful while we were there so we spent quite a bit of time outside. Kasen loved the stepping stones, but couldn’t navigate them very well. They were too far apart for him to use them properly, and so he would step into the grass and then up on a stone, then down into the grass again. . . .you get the picture. If I walked all the way out to the swing, he’d just stop and cry for me to pick him up and take him there, but if I went a couple steps ahead of him. . .he’d give it a shot and walk to me. He fell almost every time he went from the stone to the grass, but each time he got up again and would clap for himself and say “Yeah.” (That’s something else he’s learned recently.) Each time I’d join him in the applause and he’d continue. Whenever he made it without falling, he also clapped and I joined him then too. He needed the encouragement either way – besides that, the applause is what made the whole experience fun. As a father, I loved cheering for him when he’d get up after a fall and also when he made the step and kept his balance. I know he loved it too.

I wonder if this hurricane and the new terrain that we’re learning to navigate is similar? Do we have enough people around us who will cheer for us whether we succeed or fall? Are we being the kind of people who will cheer for others either way? As we enter into this new terrain, will we continue to walk – taking one step at a time, or will we be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task? Do we have people in our lives who will go with us through it all without getting too far out ahead? Will we go through it with others?

For that matter – isn’t this the case with anything new in our lives? Isn’t it better when we do it together? When there are people to encourage us and walk through it all with us?

Casting Vision

We watched a John Maxwell presentation about “How to Cast a Vision” in school the other night. Here are the notes I took:

1. Clarity bring understanding to vision.
2. Connectedness brings past, present, and future together.
3. Purpose brings direction to a vision.
4. Goals bring target to a vision.
5. Honesty brings integrity to the vision and credibility to the leader.
6. Stories bring relationships to the vision.
7. Challenge brings stretching to the vision.
8. Passion and Conviction are fuel for the vision.
9. Repositioning brings change to a vision.
10. Urgency brings intensity to a vision.
11. Modeling brings accountability to a vision.
12. Strategy brings a process to vision.
In addition, in casting a vision one should share his heart, paint a picture of hope in it’s accomplishment, ask for help, and explain how to help.

There were also some great little quotes he used. Here are a few:

People won’t reach into the future until they’ve touched the past.

Winners stretch to vision, whiners shrink from it.

When challenged, winners say, “Sick-em” and whiners feel sick.

Nothing of value happens in a church until a line is drawn.

When the heat goes up there are two reactions. Whiners leave. Winners become more passionate. If you’re vision is of God and you lose them, you never really had them in the first place. Passion fires up committed and fries the uncommitted.

Those who pay the most for a vision celebrate the most in it’s accomplishment.

Vision is caught more than taught.

Vision = Cause + Courage

The gift a leader gives a congregation is a vision. The gift they give him is it’s fulfillment.

God will send the resources needed according to the size of your vision. The size of a vision is determined by the size of our questions.

People change at three different times: (1) When they hurt enough they have to (2) When they learn enough they want to, and (3) When they receive enough they’re empowered to.

Vision must be seen clearly, spoken of continuously, and communicated creatively.

All this is to say, I really like John Maxwell. Some of his stuff seems really over simplified, but in regards to concepts – probably the simpler the better.

Another aspect which I think is important that he didn’t mention is the biblical foundation for a vision. The example he used (Bill Hybels) was filled with biblical references, but Maxwell mentions nothing of it. In communicating a vision, it seems to me that people are more likely to get behind it if they understand that it is not the leader’s vision, but it is from God.

As the leader, our job is only to point out that which God is among us and already doing so that people can join Him in His efforts. This is how we align ourselves with His vision. If people are able to see how God has already begun a work, (as in Nehemiah 2:18 when he explains to them all that God had done to get things rolling.) it shortens the leap of faith required to just a step of faith.

Maybe we as leaders should spend more time talking about what we already see God doing!?!?