I asked Jim this hard question. “Most people would say, that by God’s grace you’ve accomplished a great deal in your nearly 20 years of leadership at this ministry. It would be easier to not do this. Even if we move forward together, trusting God, it’s still entirely possible that this could fail. Why are you willing to take on this huge challenge for this vision at this point in your life?”
Jim smiled. His voice was steady. “I think about that all the time. And I pray about it. But one morning it came to me as I was shaving looking at my face in the mirror, that I believe so strongly in this vision, this work that God is calling us to, that I had to take the personal risk of trying and possibly failing. Or someday I would look in the mirror and know that I was unwilling to follow God’s direction.”
That, my friends, is conviction. Try putting that in a vision statement.
Communicating and casting vision will come short every time if it’s not being implemented from a place of conviction. No marketing program, campaign plan, consulting project, or systematic methodology can cover this. Somehow, people can smell a lack of conviction. Your words fall flat. You wonder why it’s so hard to get people moving.
I’m a person that believes in words. Language matters. But, the words aren’t nearly as important as the conviction. How else can you explain the fact that many organizations have such similar visions statements? Google vision statements of different types of non-profit organizations. You’ll be appalled at how similar most of them sound. And yet, some organizations experience profound success as they work toward their vision, and some just barely move forward incrementally. Those that are struggling are looking for the right programs, models, and formulas. Those with momentum, keep pushing forward, getting better, getting faster, more innovative, more effective.
Conviction is discovered, not word-smithed. What captures your imagination? What stirs your heart? What scriptures leaps off the page at you when you consider the future of your organization? What are you willing to be made a fool over? What picture of the future is so big, you know that you won’t live to see the day that it is fulfilled?
Start there. But you are just one person, the first person it starts with. You need to test your conviction with others. Are there a few others that you can share this with?
Share your just birthed conviction with those men and women you know are wise, discerning, and have been involved in amazing movements of God before now. Don’t go to the cynic, the one who has played it safe. Go to the one who has been on the front lines of what it takes to see vision become reality.
I’ll tell you how you know when you are getting close to a heart of conviction. When you share the vision with that handful of special folks, and their response, their own vision, actually scares you. When you see God’s Spirit stirring others through that God-given conviction, you’ll know you’ve found it.
Get this right. Settle this once and for all. Everything else follows vision. Real vision is conviction.