Gut check moment

Are you going to do it or not? You have that idea you’ve been thinking about. That dream that won’t leave the back of your mind. That vision that you’ve only shared with a few close friends. So, are you going to do it or not?

There will come a point that the dream will either fade away or you’ll take a deep breath and jump. With every idea, dream or vision there will come a gut check moment.  And in that moment you find yourself asking:  am I going to do this or not?

In that moment you write the check, say yes to the new opportunity, resign you’re safe job or complete the registration form. That is a gut check moment. That’s the moment you make the commitment. You’re in. No turning back.The gut check moment shows you how much you believe in your own dream. It’s in that gut-check moment you either jump or walk away.

So are you going to do this thing or not?

Steven Furtick: Transferring Vision

A few weeks ago we asked Steven Furtick, lead pastor at Elevation Church, to speak at our Seacoast Leaders Conference.  This is a conference we do for all Seacoast leaders two times a year as a development opportunity.  Our focus was on how to cast vision in your home, market place and ministry area.  Steven did a phenominal job in this 8 minute video sharing key principles for our lay leaders to cast vision in their area of ministry.  Watch the video then scroll below for action steps.

Leadership Conference – 2010 – Steven Furtick from Seacoast Church on Vimeo.


  1. Watch Steven’s video and take notes on the key concepts.
    • Reinforcing key cultural _______________ and ____________________.
    • Always _______________ and _____________________ your personal support of the vision.
    • It’s always ____________ and never _________________.
  2. Work with your ministry team and discuss ways to reinforce the vision of the church in your particular ministry area.  What are key buzz words that are used to reinforce the vision? 
  3. Read George Barna’s article Unleashing the Church through Lay Leadership.  What stood out to you the most from this article?  Discuss it with your ministry team.
  4. Read the blog post “How I Tripled my Clarity in 7 Days” by Will Mancini.  Discuss the level of clarity you feel you have in your area of ministry and your personal life.

Casting Vision for Your Family – Reggie Joiner

A few weeks ago we asked Reggie Joiner, President of Rethink, to speak at our Seacoast Leaders Conference.  The focus of the conference was on how to cast vision in your home, market place and ministry. Knowing about his strong passion for family we asked Reggie if he would talk to us about vision casting as a mom and dad.  Watch this 10 minute video then scroll  below for some action steps to further your learning.

Leadership Conference – 2010 – Reggie Joiner from Seacoast Church on Vimeo.


1.  Watch Reggies Video and write down the key concepts

Three Dials we’re constantly turning as a parent…

  • Relationship with _____________ – The Wonder Dial
    Nothings more important than someones relationship with God.
  • Relationship with _____________  – The Discovery Dial
    Help your child to understand their identity is not in a job, a relationship or anything else.  Their identiy is in Christ.
  • Relationship with ______________ – The Passion Dial
    Jesus was a living example of giving our lives for others.  If Jesus is in your and he came to give his life to others then doesn’t it makes sense that He wants you to give your life for others?  We must teach our children to live with a sense of mission. 

2. Set aside an hour this week and write down the vision you believe God has for your family.  After writing it down share it with your children and get their input and perspective.

3.  As a family discuss an activity that you can all do together to live out an aspect of your family vision.  Make it an adventure that will create some special memories. 

4.  Write each of your children a personal letter expressing your belief in them and how you see God at work in their future.

5.  Read one of the following articles from Focus on the Family and discuss it with your spouse. 

Check back next Tuesday for Ray Snyders talk about How to Cast Vision in the Marketplace.

What I Know About Vision- Greg Surratt

In Janurary Seacoast Church hosted a Leaders Conference for the leaders from all 13 of our campuses on one night via webcast. With over 1200 leaders attending together we learned how to catch and cast vision for our family, workplace and ministry.  The video below is the first portion of the Leaders Conference featuring Pastor Greg Surratt who talked about “What I know About Vision”.  Watch the video and follow the steps below to help you apply these principles. 

Every Tuesday for the next 4 weeks I will be posting one video from the different conference speakers which included:  Reggie Joiner (How to Cast Vision for your Family), Ray Snyder (How to Cast Vision in the Workplace), and Steven Furtick (How to Cast vision as a Ministry Leader).  Enjoy!

Leadership Conference – 2010 – Greg Surratt from Seacoast Church on Vimeo.


1.  Watch Pastor Greg’s teaching on Vision and take notes in the space below

What I know About Vision

  • A clear vision _______________________ in your life.
  • A clear vision ________________________ to keep moving forward
  • A clear vision ________________________________
  • A clear vision _______________________________ of other people

How to Get a Vision

  • Create _________________ in your life to listen to God.
  • Ask God to _______________________ in the process.
  • Keep a ________________________
  • Write the _____________________________ of what the future looks like.
  • Set ___________________ so every day you get closer to the vision.

2. Set aside several hours and write “the story” of the future for your family, work and/or ministry.  Follow the five steps Pastor Greg listed in his talk.

3.  Identify the major distractions that are keeping you from being lazer focused on your vision.  What adjustments do you need to make in your schedule to gain greater clarity and focus?

4.  Buy a good book on vision and read it over the next 30 days.  Here are a few good reads…

Vision: I said it, Got it?

Isn’t it frustrating when people don’t get your vision.  You share it eloquently, convincingly and passionately yet within 24 hours someone asks you a question or makes a statement that indicates they just didn’t get it.

Being a visionary is patient business.  However the irony is most visionaries aren’t patient people.  I was struck with this truth recently when I was having lunch with a staff person who said, “You know you’ve been talking about leadership development here for years.  I’ve always heard what you’ve said, but I’m just now really beginning to understand.”  (Okay, you’re saying, “Mac is a lousy vision caster so I probably shouldn’t read any further“…but stick with me for a minute)

As leaders we have this misperception that a vision caster is like a carpenter who nails or duct tapes his vision in people’s minds and it’s supposed to stick.  But the truth is visionaries are more like artists who etch, sculpt and paint on the canvas of people’s minds until they see the image of what’s in the artist mind.  Vision isn’t something that STICKS immediately, it’s something that’s SHAPED over time. 

So don’t get discouraged when people aren’t getting it.  Vision casting takes time.  The artist knows when people need to hear it, see it, feel it, experience it, or share in it.  All of these are tools the visionary artist uses to bring the vision to life in the minds of their followers. 

How are you going to share and shape vision in the minds of your followers this week?

Cast Vision Everyday #visiondrip

Leaders use vision to move people to action, but too often the very vision that inspired people gets pushed aside in the busyness of day to day activities.  I’ve heard Andy Stanley say, “Vision leaks”.  It’s true and that’s why we as leaders must find ways to daily reinforce our vision.  Will Mancini, my social media friend, in an effort to help all of us find ways to reinforce our vision has started an Open Source Vision Casting Twub (info below).  This all started when Will did a post titled Vision Drip Today where he shared 5 simple things you can do to “drip” vision.  He then followed it up with a post titled Introducing Open Source Vision Casting where he challenged readers to Tweet ways to cast vision every day.  I’m not a poker player but I like a good challenge so I figured I would see Will’s 5 and raise him 5 in this post.  Thanks Will for creating this collaborative effort to make us all better…so here you go…

5 Things You can do to drip vision…

  • Vision lunches – Invite key influencers in your organization to go to lunch so you can talk to them about the vision God has put on your heart.  You go to lunch everyday anyway so why not ask someone to join you and take that hour to cast vision one on one.
  • Meetings – Take 5-10 minutes prior to every team meeting to share the latest progress toward the vision and share the latest things God has moved on your heart in regard to the vision.
  • Tell a story – You’re around people everyday who need to be reminded of the vision so take the opportunity to work a story illustrating the progress or impact of the vision into your conversation.  It’s easy, natural and only takes 3-4 minutes.  
  • Prayer Team – I have a friend who has a huge vision and she has recruited a prayer team for her ministry.  Each month she sends her prayer partners updates asking them to pray for various aspects of the vision as well as giving praise reports on the progress.  Consider putting a prayer team together to pray for the vision God has given you.
  • Tweet – Use Twitter to share plans, progress and pithy statements that reinforce your vision.  (How’d you like that alliteration!)  Our Missions Pastor at Seacoast Church  @JasonSurratt is one of the best I’ve seen at doing this, follow him and watch.

On Dec. 23 Will did a post where he announced a Twub for Vision casting.  You can check out the post by CLICKING HERE and check out the Twub by CLICKING HERE.  Here’s his challenge (and vision)…

What if just 100 people share 5 of their best ideas.  What about 1000 people sharing 5 ideas? Why shouldn’t we have thousands of ideas at our disposal from people across the globe? Imagine kingdom folks helping other kingdom folks uncork their biggest and best ideas. Imagine releasing vision from our “stuck on paper” practices to culture-shaping, life-giving moments that flow like a stream through daily ministry.  The rest of us need the immediate ideas that are coming to your mind right now as your read this post.  Here’s how to do it.  Using twitter, share your idea for dripping vision or a positive experience dripping vision using the #visiondrip hashtag.

Give it a try and tweet your own vision drip idea today…and don’t forget to add the hashtag #visiondrip

The Six Stages of a Vision

Now that we’re three weeks into the new year vision architects are busy assembling the pieces they need to build their God-given dream.  Plans are unfolding, resources being gathered, teams mobilized and undoubtedly somewhere in the near future roadblocks will be hit.  That’s why it’s important for the leader to understand the stages of a vision.  When you understand the different phases of vision then you’re able to respond with wisdom and maturity when you encounter challenges.  A vision typically goes through six stages.

  • Imagination Stage– This is the fun stage where you get to think outside the box and dream about possibilities.  Typically you’re focused on solving a problem that is close to your heart and praying through ways God wants to use you to make a difference.
  • Preparation Stage – This is the hard work of putting together the timelines, budget, priorities and goals of the vision.   Vision is seeing tomorrows possibilities today, but it’s not enough just to see it, you have to  design a blueprint in order to minimize frustrations along the way. 
  • Execution Stage – This is where the vision train gets to leave the station.  Teams are deployed and people move into action to make things happen.  Day by day you get to see the framework of the vision being put together. 
  • Frustration Stage – Rarely does a vision come together as planned.  Teams will miss deadlines, circumstances will change, resources become scarce and people will criticize or complain.  Every vision will face a challenge and this will prove the commitment of the leader and the team to the vision.
  • Rejuvenation Stage -If  handled the right way the frustration stage causes the leader and team to think deeper and  push forward with innovative ideas, fresh perspective and new determination. 
  • Celebration Stage – When the team crosses the finish line and the vision becomes reality it’s time for celebration.  Don’t forget to recognize and reward all those who contributed to making it all possible.  And mostly pause to thank God for using you to accomplish His will.

Which stage is your vision in right now?  What’s your next step?

Battle for the Blessing

As I pursue the God given vision that’s on my heart there are times I find myself getting discouraged. I love thinking about the future…imagining possibilities. That’s what vision is…seeing tomorrow’s possibilities today. But turning vision into reality is not always easy.

I was reading Deuteronomy 1:8 today and was struck by the very first word of the verse “LOOK”. Moses says, “Look, the Lord your God has set the land before you.”   He was basically saying to the Hebrew people, “look at the possibilities, look at the opportunity that lies before you. look at the blessing God has for you.”

Now look at the second half of that verse, “go up and possess it… do not fear or be discouraged.”  While God was promising to bless them with this  land he was also telling them, “GO possess it“, in other words you have to fight for it. This is where they wavered. You see they had enough faith to get excited about the future BLESSING…but they didn’t have the faith to fight the BATTLES it would take to get them there. They ended up telling Moses “What were you thinking bringing us here? Take us back to Egypt.”   This generation of Hebrews were defeated by discouragement and the vision never became a reality for them. They missed the BLESSING because they didn’t want to fight the BATTLES.

You know I realize I’m the same way. God has a territory he wants me to possess, a vision to accomplish. He wants me to “look” at the opportunities and possibilities, and then GO fight for those blessings. I get excited about those things…but then I see the giants that I must face, I see the pockets of resistance, the rough terrain I must cross, the obstacles I must face and I get discouraged. I begin to complain, doubt, question, and worry.

The truth is most of the time I want the BLESSING without the BATTLE. But God is telling me that I must go through the BATTLE to get to the BLESSING. He is telling me “Mac you are good at Believing faith – seeing the Blessing, the future possibilities, but you waiver when it comes to Behaving faith – pushing through and battling toward the finish line. You see Behaving faith faces the giants, fights through the resistance, forges through the tough terrain, and finds ways around the obstacles without losing the vision.

God has given me a vision to pursue…a land to possess…but He is not going to just hand it to me, he wants me to BATTLE for the BLESSING because it’s in the battle I get to know and trust God on a more intimate level. With each obstacle I face I must not doubt but realize this is just one more opportunity for me to see the power of God at work in my life.

Four Lessons for Raising Commitment Level, Pt 2

In 1983 Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple, sat with John Scully, the CEO of Pepsi, and challenged him with this question: “Scully do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water or do you want to change the world?”   That question caused Scully to leave Pepsi and serve as CEO of Apple for the next ten years. 

Jesus laid down a similar challenge to a man he encountered on the road to Jerusalem, “He said to another man, “Follow me.” But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father. “Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”  Luke 9:59-60.

Here’s a guy who seems to have a valid excuse. Burial of parents was a high priority in that culture. But the truth is we’re not sure if this guys father had actually died or not.  Many commentators indicate that this man would not be on the road to Jerusalem if his father had died, he would be at home with mourners preparing for the funeral.  So either way he was actually telling Jesus, “I am interested but not yet.”

As leaders it will be common for us to encounter team members who are INTERESTED but not COMMITTED. So what do you do in this case?  Well, I love Jesus response, he presents the guy with two options…

First – You can choose do what any ordinary person can do.  When he says, “let the dead bury the dead” he is speaking metaphorically.  In other words, those who are spiritually dead can take care of these simple, non-spiritual tasks.  OR Option two…

Two – You can choose to use your life to make significant impact.  Jesus says, “You go proclaim the Kingdom of God.”   The word for “proclaim” is “diaggellō” which means, “to announce everywhere or publish abroad”.  Jesus is casting a compelling vision and having this man consider how he will invest his life.  He is inviting this man to help change the world.

To raise the level of commitment…help followers feel the significance of the vision.

Vision Detour

I love to dream.  But I love it even more when the dream begins to leave port and sets sail toward reality.  That’s when you get this feeling in your gut that says, “This is really going to happen.”  But I’ve noticed any time I’m pursuing a God given vision things don’t go the way I anticipated, they never happen as smoothly as I planned nor do they happen in the timing I imagined.   I’ve also learned God frequently “detours” the vision in order to develop the visionary.  

I can’t help but wonder what went through Elijah’s mind in 1 Kings 17. It’s clear that God gave him a vision for a spiritual revolution.  In 17:1 he takes his first step toward the vision when he boldly confronts King Ahab saying, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”   But the very next verse just isn’t what you would expect, “Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah:  “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.”

God tells Elijah to leave!  What?  It doesn’t seem to make sense.  And to make matters worse he tells him to go to Kerith Ravine, which in Hebrew means “cut off place”.  But God took him on this “detour” for a reason.  Each and every day Elijah would experience the faithfulness of God as ravens flew in his daily meals.  I’m sure this is not where Elijah expected to be after taking his first steps toward his vision, but it was where God wanted him to be.  You see God took this visionary on a “detour” to teach him total dependence.  Elijah experienced this daily miracle for over 600 consecutive days.  While it may not have been a part of Elijah’s master plan, it was a necessary step to help him to the man God needed to do the job.  Don’t forget:  You have to have a God sized faith to accomplish a God sized vision. 

Do you feel like your vision has been detoured?  Perhaps right now God’s focus is on developing the visionary.