Leaders should develop vision by “reading” three key areas:
Read situations. Rather than ignoring the current situation, leaders should read the context. Visions are not formed in a vacuum, apart from community, nor are visions cookie-cutters that can be applied to any situation. It is essential to take into account the immediate context. Vision not only looks to the future, but takes into account the present.
Read hearts. Too many leaders die on the battlefield of their own ideas rather than taking into account the people they lead. An effective leader leads people towards change, but that change must start with reading people’s hearts, otherwise it might be change that people don’t really need. Just as a heart surgeon asses the condition of a heart, so must church leaders asses a congregation before determining next steps.
Read people. Church leaders must recognize that God’s Spirit is working within people’s hearts. For that reason, vision should not be established by a single individual, such as a lead pastor. Instead, leaders should value what God is already doing and trust that God will bring about the change. To develop a vision, church leaders must ask questions, listen to people’s stories, determine strengths and weaknesses, and discover how God is already working within the community.