Direction instead of Destination!

Things don’t always turn out as planned. In fact, they rarely do.

In our globally connected, ever changing world… we now confront a war before we could ever recover from a pandemic. Both events were not on our radar… until they were.

The recent discovery of Ernest Shackleton’s ship is actually a tangible wake/up call in the navigation of today’s world. Shackleton’s ship sank in frigid waters at an unsurvivable place on earth. And yet it is heralded a story of successful leadership.

It began as a a leader leveraging everything to go to the unknown only to get stuck in the ice-cap he went to explore. The success of the story was not the “successful’ accomplishment of the planned goal and expedition, but rather that all who went on the voyage, in the end, survived. The finding of his ship’s remains reminded us that his ship was called, ‘The Endurance.’

In the CEO leadership model of the church, that my generation adopted, vision was tied to the leading the successful accomplishment of a “goal.” More than we think, it altered the DNA of the church into a 5, 10 or even 20 year planned destination.” Many are now the shipwreck models and fallen leaders who have gone down under the demands and ambitions of vision… as the Hillsongs and Driscolls document.What got us here won’t take us there!I’d like to suggest that we redefine the word ‘vision.’

In a time when the radical pace of change makes statements irrelevant before we can change our signage…. I suggest vision be re-defined…as ‘direction’ as opposed to ‘destination.’

In future… The vision exercise becomes the process of re-aligning our actions and methodologies to the challenge of better recognizing how God is at work in our day. What do we measure? Vision becomes the process of measuring our direction and discernment, through prayer… adopting ‘eyes to see’ and ‘ears-to-hear’ how we are aligned with the Spirit’s work.

It could also measured by our reluctance/obedience to re-align our dreams for the church toward the work He is already doing.If the past has taught anything… it’s that too often when vision meant … ‘destination accomplishment’ it has often been shipwrecked by ambition and the disease of “bigger and better!”

When vision is about ‘alignment’ and surrender to the work God is doing… our critical question is no longer what does God want us to do… but rather how much our lives and ministries are about joining him… and how much our lives look like Him, as opposed to us.

Time to be truly honest.

We don’t know where things are going in the future.

We don’t know where we should be headed.

Ours is a journey of endurance right now.We see only faintly the new expressions of the church Jesus is building.

What we do know? Like Abraham we’ve been told to pack our bags. What if vision is not about what we accomplish, but the direction we head and who we are following?


Terry coaches and mentors breakthrough for entrepreneurial, risk-taking leaders. He has authored several books on leadership and pioneered a variety of leadership development resources and processes with his organization, Leader Breakthru. Terry also serves as adjunct faculty at Fuller Theological Seminary.

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