If you are reading this page you are most likely a visionary leader. Consider some of these questions about your team and your future:

  • Would you like to experience more dynamic synergy by having your team passionately "playing on the same page"?
  • Are you tired of the fruitless planning attempts that leave you with too many goals and too little enthusiasm?
  • Would you like to see more energy and focus on the very best things that God is calling you to do?
  • Would you like to name the dream and the plan to have a dramatic impact in your city and in your lifetime?

If you answer "yes" to any one of these questions, then the Horizon Storyline is a tool created just for you.

In a nutshell the Horizon Storyline is a tool to develop the right amount of vision content for the right time in the future, for the entire leadership team. It helps a church achieve all the merits of a vivid vision in a way the whole team engages. It does this by providing four time frames to plan around and by showing how many goals each time frame needs. Quickly you will begin to see how it solves virtually all of your vision and planning challenges.

The breakthrough of the Horizon Storyline is the development of a planning tool that fits human experience. It’s natural to grasp, using the way we already see, think, and communicate. What if we could forever remove the “it’s just too complicated” barrier for teams? What if your planning tool would intuitively and immediately make sense? What if it would actually be fun to revisit over and over again. What makes the Horizon Storyline so accessible?

Five key features stand out:

  • It uses how are eyes see different distances (up close and far away) to relate to different "distances into the future."
  • It will use our need for simplicity to help the team focus on one big goal at a time without being overly simplistic.
  • It will use fuse different "thinking wavelengths" on your team– the creative dreamers and the detailed achievers.
  • It will use how the brain works with pictures and numbers to make the plan meaningful and memorable.
  • It will use how we communicate to blend planning with storytelling.

Before you can appreciate the simple drawing of the tool itself, consider how our eyes are always looking at different horizons. Even when painting a picture, an artist tries to capture at least three horizons:

This simple visualization will set up the structure of the Horizon Storyline and your church's plan. We simply related distance of sight to distances into the future. Now let's take a little picture I have used for years to describe Vision– the picture of where God is taking us. Imagine that you are driving toward the front range in Colorado. You will see three horizons

Note: I put this "picture of the future" inside of a Vision Frame, the master tool in my book Church Unique which deals with defining your disciple-making mission and model. (I describe this in Appendix B of God Dreams.)

Notice how we use the exact three horizons from the first picture and add one called "Beyond-the-Horizon" which is simply acknowledging there is a destination we want to achieve but it is out of our direct eyesight. From there we take the picture and turn it into a simple whiteboard drawing or napkin sketch drawing. At the same time we will assign time-frames to each horizon:

What do these rows and squares actually mean? As said before, they represent the right amount of vision content in the right amount time into the future for the entire team. Most importantly the four rows which we refer to as the "1:4:1:4" (reading from the top down) create a napkin sketch story that can be shared with people in your ministry. (See my illustration below.)

In summary, the Beyond-The-Horizon is a simple picture idea that can be developed into a vivid description 5-20 years into the future depending on the age and life stage of the church. It represents the ministry's ultimate contribution communicated through a picture of the future; a destination in time. The background vision is the four most important strategic emphases in the next three years to achieve the long-range dream. The midground vision is the one most important goal in the church in the next year, determined in light of the long-range context. Finally, the "bottom four" foreground initiatives are 90-day horizon action steps to accomplish the one-year goal.

In the end, the entire visionary plan has no more than 10 content pieces; and each one is "tightly" and meaningfully related to each other. Hence, they make for an easy story to tell.

As you look at this simple tool, remember that I wrote a whole book on how to develop it, entitled God Dreams: 12 Templates for Finding and Focusing Your Church's Future.

>>>>Buy the book now >>>>

Here is an example of what a napkin sketch looks like. Keep in mind that there my be a lot of information behind the keyword in the napkin sketch. But the key practice is enthusiastically knowing and sharing the plan. Vision transfers through people not paper. This is the current Horizon Storyline we are running at Auxano, the nonprofit consulting group that I founded and lead. This is for our planning cycle that started in April of 2016. Our midground vision is "Making the Vision Frame Work" and we have four action initiative teams to execute our goal by October 2016.

If you want to see the graphically designed version: Auxano Vision Proper 2020


My dream is that every ministry leader would be able to develop a common picture of the future like this with their team. This really is more doable and more powerful than you might realize. I hope you give it a try. Ministry without clarity is insanity!

If I have piqued your interest in the Horizon Storyline, check out the free PDF overview with my working definitions, benefits, examples and a teaching handout of the Horizon Storyline.

>>>> The Horizon Storyline Overview>>>

Then if you are ready to take first step, check out the free resource site. There are a lot more free resources there.

>>>> GodDrea.ms Resource Site >>>>

If you have not purchased the God Dreams book yet, consider what others have said. These are not endorsers, but everyday pastors who have reviewed the book on Amazon:

 The blurbs on the cover are no joke; after reading "God Dreams" it makes one wonder how a church could function faithfully without it.  –Cory
Rarely have I read a book and instantly decided not only to ask all my key leaders to read it, but also to use it right now as we plan next year with a view to the next ten years –Bruce
Thoughtful, thorough, and imminently practical - a must-read for anyone who leads –Ryan
###pThe breadth of Will Mancini's knowledge of vision and leadership is simply refreshing and the content shared on the pages of this book is no different. Will Mancini doesn't hold back. His purpose to further the kingdom of God is evident in how transparent his tools and resources are in empowering leaders to cast vision. –Catherine
This is not some "pie-in-the-sky" theoretical mumbo-jumbo that you can't use, it is something you can use right now in your church. If you're like me and don't like wasting your valuable time reading something that won't benefit you personally or your church corporately....put whatever else you may be reading aside and DEVOUR THIS BOOK. It's that good!  –Rick

>>>Buy the book now >>>>