Before jumping into this third post on "Vehicles for Vision" I want to remind you that it's useless to talk about vision delivery if you are a little foggy on vision. Don't feel bad if you are- it takes attention, time and work, but the payoff is infinite.  Here is the tool you may want to use to nail down the identity and direction of your ministry- we call it the Vision Frame.


Is it possible that there is one vehicle of vision that is literally a missing link? For practical purposes, yes.

The missing link is the leadership pipeline as the second vehicle for vision.

Why? The answer requires a bit of explanation.

Remember, because it's easy for a pastor to rely on preaching alone to deliver vision, they can miss the more important vehicle of the church's connecting environment. We dealt with this challenge in the first post.

Now, let's say that you agree that vision should be delivered through small groups or whatever version of group life that your church serves up. The big question is then, "How do you lead through the volunteer leaders who facilitate and guide group life?" The question reveals why a leadership pipeline is the missing link. It's impossible to conceive of using your connecting environment as a vehicle for vision if you don't have a linkage or some mechanism to make your connecting environment leaders carriers of the vision. Strangely, this leadership development piece is missing in most churches.

The quick test of wether or not you have this in place is a few simple questions:

  • When was the last time every leader in your church gathered for training and vision casting?

  • What does your church do to build a leadership community identity among all leaders?

Again, when I ask these questions, I often receive a blank stare.

We miss this important ministry of leadership development for two primary reasons.

First, pastors are taught study scripture, preach, and maybe even lead small groups. But most pastors are NOT trained in how to develop leaders.  As a result pastors can focus entirely on DOING the ministry rather than RAISING UP others to do them ministry. (The purpose of this post in not to argue for the basic, nuts and bolts Ephesians 4:11-14, but it may be worth revisiting the text.) Second, if your church has a few decades of history, you have existing structures and decision-making processes that simulate "leadership" but don't function as a "leadership pipeline." That is, increasing numbers of leaders are not multiplied and mentored through a process in which the vision and DNA of the church is transferred.

So here is a set of questions to get you thinking about what a leadership pipeline might look like:

If you had to rely on your small group leaders or class facilitators alone to deliver the vision...

  • How often would you get this group together?

  • How much time would you spend with them?

  • How much time as a group vs. one-on-one?

  • What kinds of things would you do together?

  • How would you model the vision with them?

  • How would you teach them to model the vision?

  • How would you train them to communicate the vision?

  • How would you pray for these people?

  • How would you measure their progress?

  • What tools and support would you provide?

  • What ongoing questions would you ask them?

In the end, you will never multiply your ministry if there is no dedicated time and process for leaders sharing the vision with other leaders. And this is unfortunately a missing link in American evangelicalism.

If you would like more information on this subject, Aubrey Malphurs and I wrote a book called Building Leaders on how to build a leadership pipeline for your church.