Monday, July 20, 2009

Plans vs. Vision

"Plans change, vision stays the same." I listened recently to another Andy Stanley leadership podcast that hit me at just the right time. I asked on twitter last week for people to be praying for me as I had some pretty big decisions to make. I feel like God really answered many of those prayers by allowing me to hear this particular podcast. In it, Andy talks about how many of us fail to realize that our particular vision is not the same as our particular plan. I know for me this church planting adventure that I am on is one where my plans and the vision God has given me sometimes get confused. I think this is common for many of us. Maybe your vision is about a particular ministry, or about your business, or even a particular vision for your family. Our plans become so important to us. After all, we pray about them, we align our finances around them, we follow our plan to the greatest detail. But which is more important - the plan (how I will accomplish the vision), or the vision itself? Sometimes we have to be willing to be flexible with our plans. Plans change, vision stays the same.

In my context my church planting plan has had some significant changes along the way. The vision has continued to stay the same. Our vision is to plant a life-giving church that encourages people to embrace the story they were meant to live. It's a vision that calls people out of boredom and into the life God intended for them. And yet my plan has often gotten confused with that vision. Originally my plan was that this would happen primarily in downtown Durham. When God began pointing me closer to the Grove Park area, I struggled with that. How could we change our focus like that? Oh yeah - downtown isn't the vision, a life-giving church is the vision. More recently I've wrestled with a new change of plans. For a year I've been planning on launching Story Church on September 13, 2009. And yet recently, I've come to terms with the fact that we aren't ready to launch. At first this was a devastating reality for me. How can I change my launch date?? Oh yeah, September 13 isn't the vision - a healthy, life-giving church is the vision. September 13 is a plan. And it can change without affecting the vision.

How about you? What's the vision you have for your life, your career, your family, your marriage? Is that vision married to a particular plan, or is the plan flexible? If we don't learn to flex the plan, our vision can die with a bad plan. Good vision thrives at the right time with the right plan - but it's not the same as our plan. We die for vision, but not for our plans.


Good post bro, seems like you're making a wise choice and this post is filled w/ much needed wisdom for other church planters.


It hasn't been an easy choice but I'm thankful to other church planters that have given me wise counsel.

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