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Keys to catching & casting a vision recounted to Rec Lab participants

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–Ordinary men and women are called by God to do extraordinary things, a national church recreation leader told participants in Rec Lab ’99 at Glorieta (N.M.) Conference Center, Feb. 12-17.
To show visionary leadership in their churches, recreation ministers must first catch the vision God wants for their church, John Garner, recreation program director at LifeWay Christian Resources, said.
Catching the vision requires spending time with God, Garner continued, “obeying his Word, knowing it specifically and knowing it in its broad application.”
“Leadership doesn’t come easily,” he said. “It is a hard thing when Satan throws roadblocks in your way and discouragement comes.”
Garner recommended what he calls “The Rumination Principle” in seeking the vision and overcoming hurdles. “Chew the cud,” he challenged. “Meditate for fresh thoughts and new insights.”
In the right environment — even while driving to work or mowing the lawn — people who ruminate can discover who they are and the vision for their ministry, he said.
Making a “dream list” can be helpful in setting forth desired accomplishments. While such an exercise can encourage larger thinking, he said, “remember, the list can change.”
“Some dreams die,” he observed. “Others grow into part of a vision.”
Garner said his own vision is “that recreation ministry can reach an unseeded, leisure-oriented society.”
Vision needs to be hopeful rather than wishful, he added. “Wishfulness is a desire for change with no basis in experience. Hopefulness is a desire for change with good grounding in experience.”
Because life is dynamic, vision can change direction or elements of the vision can change.
“People and situations change. Experiences come into your life that make you a different person,” he said.
“Vision usually unfolds over time, revealing new opportunities, previously undiscovered options and lessons learned from mistakes.
“Criticism will come,” he added. “It can be constructive if you swallow some pride and make changes — modify your vision. Don’t take it personally. This is God’s vision given to you to be carried out by you. You are a steward of the vision. Always be gracious.”
Garner said burnout, worry and fear stifle vision.
He suggested several actions to counter obstacles to visionary leadership:
— Turn fear into goal-setting. “Goals get you focused, set measuring points and can be communicated.”
— Watch and listen selectively. “Listen to the best — wise, experienced, critical thinkers. Read widely, but selectively.”
— Be aware of cultural shifts. “For example, work ethic has shifted to a leisure ethic. People now work to be able to enjoy leisure.”
— Networking is important. “Find people who are visionary thinkers. Hang out with ‘mind stimulators.’ Encourage others, and be encouraged. Watch out for those who say, ‘We never did it that way before; it can’t be done.'”
In casting the vision, he said, keep it simple.
“People grasp simplicity. Telling it once isn’t enough,” he said. “Say it in different ways. Tell it to as many people as you can. Encourage questions. They clarify and help you think things through.
“Every one of us has the ability to change the world with the vision God gives us.”
The church recreation program of LifeWay Christian Resources sponsored Rec Lab.

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  • Charles Willis