Start with the end in mind (Stephen R. Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change )
We could also start with Genesis 1. As God "in the beginning" forms creation there was, as Paul intimates, a plan for creation conceived and carried out by Jesus, the one by whom all things were created (Colossians 1:16). What both the Bible and Stephen Covey reflect is the idea that something does not come from nothing. There must be something--a conception, an idea, a vision, a dream--that gives rise to the creative event. That idea is the formative essence of vision.
It's well documented that church planters need to be vision casters, people who are able to see so clearly what does not yet exist that others are willing to commit themselves to bring that thing (a new church) about. We feel the idea of vision creation so important that it is one of the central pieces we look for in our church planter assessment (Discovery Lab). We truly believe Charles Ridley is right when he lists vision casting as a knock factor.
In personality theory the Myers-Briggs concept of iNtuition is important. People with the N as their second letter in the MBTI four letter sequence (example ENTP). Aubrey Malphurs lists four MBTI types as strong indicators for church planting success: ENTP, ENTJ, ENFP, and ENFJ. All of them have the iNtuition aspect in their personality. In the DiSC behavioral assessment it is the high DI combination, the Influencer, that tends to have most success in planting new churches. We look to these two instruments to give us starting points for vision casting.
But what then? How does vision really form that is so compelling that even the planter is willing to run the risk of failure just to have the opportunity to see something happen?
We have found Will Mancini's Kingdom Concept a valuable conceptualizing tool for vision development. Mancini sees vision lying at the intersection of Apostolic Esprit, Local Predicament, and Collective Potential. You can download his chapter to get the fuller description of these. Here let's make it even more simple:
The planter's call is the fountain of God's vision
At Kairos we speak of the planter's call as consisting of 3 P's:
1. People. We know that planters are people who love a specific group of people whom God has placed on their heart. Planters love these people so much they are willing to pursue them, seek them out, live among them, and love them. In some respects the People aspect of the call is like the Kingdom Concept's collective potential. A clear, relevant vision is built on knowing the people. Some basic tools you can use to learn your people better are the NAMB Demographics Guide, focus groups, and Conversation and Cuisine events.
2. Place. These people live in a specific place. This Place is not just geographic, it is psychographic--the personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of the people who live in their community. The Place contains the ideas of Mancini's local predicament. We recommend planters construct a Community Map to help them learn and understand their community. Learn the boundaries and markers of your community that define what it is and both attracts and repels people.
3. Passion. Vision expresses passion; it embodies and gives to passion. Passion is what people feel as the planter casts vision and lets them see something that makes them wish they could experience that new church in reality. It's the passion that releases the energy it takes to do the day to day grunt work that is the building blocks for success. Passion is similar to the Apostolic Esprit. For planters, look back at your Discovery Lab report. We've given you a lot of reflection in that document. You can also see your Myers-Briggs, DiSC and results of your planting Initial Self Assessment for planters.
The Kairos Strategy Lab is the place where we help planters move their vision from their heads and hearts onto paper where others can see it too. The Kairos Strategy Lab Workbook will guide you through the preparation process to get your vision ready so God can use what he has put on your heart to bring about a new church where people can experience His great salvation.