There have been many words written about vision. From vision casting, to vision statements, to visionaries, the world is full of vision. On many different occasions I’ve been asked to describe my vision or the vision for the church I pastor. My first response is usually an issue of clarification. “What do you mean by vision?”
From a Biblical perspective the word “vision” is usually used with the idea of prophetic insight and utterance. In other words, the Bible uses “vision” to describe an actual vision that has come from God or is ascribed to God. In an Old Testament context, prophets were set apart to see God’s vision and to communicate God’s visions to the people.
It is important to distinguish this prophetic vision from the modern corporate culture use of vision. Vision is not a nice idea, a good plan, or a strategic next step. It’s not long term goals or objectives. Rather vision in the Bible is synonymous with vision from God. God shows the prophet a vision of what is or what will be. The prophet writes down the vision and proclaims the vision to the people.
It is important to stress that vision is not a plan! Vision is not a goal! Vision is not a desired outcome or objective. Instead, vision is God’s perspective given to humanity. God gives the prophet a vision and we respond. In a Christian context a visionary leader is not someone who comes up with great or grand ideas. I Christian visionary is someone who sees visions from God. He or she sees the vision, writes it down, and lives it out!
Proverbs 29:18 states “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.”
Many Christian self help book and leadership development manuscripts have co opted this verse to justify the writing of vision statements and church objectives. Vision statements and objectives might be a good thing, but this verse is not talking about such things.