the shape of leadership

Casting Vision Across Generations

Three approaches for getting all ages on board

Influence Magazine on June 18, 2019

Vision is about moving your church forward. It’s about creating excitement and enthusiasm for what God is doing. Casting vision is a way to get your people on board with the mission and motivate them to participate in the next steps for the ministry.

But what do you do when people are reluctant? Perhaps some like the status quo and would rather not rock the boat. Others are more invested in their own likes and dislikes. Still others want change, but not the change you are leading.

While it’s certainly not always the case, such differences are often generational in nature. Maybe the middle-aged people want to keep everything the way it is. The senior crowd longs to return to the way things were. And the younger members want change and want it now.

How do you lead in the face of such differing opinions? What’s the best way to cast vision to all age groups? Here is a three-pronged strategy to get everyone moving together toward a common goal:

Remember the Past

Going forward sometimes requires looking back. Honor the past by remembering often all the great things God has done in your church.

Also acknowledge those who helped achieve it. Point out the faithfulness of the members, the responsibilities they took seriously, the changes they wanted and initiated, and the results of such forward thinking. Remembering not only how things were but how they came about will help you cast vision for the next steps.

Honor the past by remembering often all the great things God has done in your church.

Frame the Present

Those who like things the way they are and don’t want to change have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo — and it’s usually comfort. Paul speaks to the need for comfort in 2 Corinthians 1:4, explaining that we receive comfort to help those who need comforting. Frame the present state of your church in the same way.

How can what is going on now pave the way for what God is calling you to do next? How do you maintain momentum, not just the status quo? And how do you leverage what you’ve received to help others receive it, too? These are the questions you can pose to your congregation as you challenge them to surrender to God any desire to settle for less than His best.

Prepare for the Future

Those who want to move forward usually want to move on. They may desire change for the sake of change alone. Perhaps they dislike something about the present or past and hope for a different future.

To really cast the vision, you can’t offer empty change. Instead, you must connect hope to it. Show your entire congregation how much better your church can be when they enlist in the vision God has given you. Remind them of the lives God wants to change, the souls He wants to save, the families He wants to restore, and the brokenness in the community He wants to redeem.

Challenge everyone to say “yes” to God with a willingness to make necessary changes, retain the current positive strategies, and recall the principles and values of the past.

As you combine each of these into one strategy for casting vision, you will have a better handle on unifying all the age groups and generations under your leadership. And you will also set yourself up for success moving forward.

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