Vision is a popular subject among church leaders.

What’s the vision for your church? How do you communicate your vision to staff, volunteers and the congregation?

Vision is important, however, we also need to talk (and do something) about how to make the vision a reality.

In his book, "ReLaunch: How to Stage an Organizational Comeback," Dr. Mark Rutland makes a distinction between leadership and management and how each relates to vision. He uses the example of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower stating the vision of liberating France by the summer of 1945.

By making that assertion, Eisenhower demonstrated leadership. Management, however, was "making sure there were enough tanks and troop carriers and food for the GI's." In other words, Rutland writes, "Management is the practical execution of the vision."

As church business administrators, you're managing church accounting, insurance, scheduling, facilities, technology, staffing and more. The challenges of today are screaming at you and demand attention. Yet the vision for the next year or beyond won't happen without careful planning and dedication. So, how do you manage that tension?

Here are a few tips:

1. Know the vision

We can't hit a target if we don’t know where it is, right? So we first need to clearly understand what our pastor and church leaders have in mind.

If you don't feel they've communicated that effectively or if you have questions, then it's time to ask. Get crystal clear on the vision so you can start determining what needs to happen in the back office to support it.

2. Advance order and efficiency in today's environment

If there's already chaos in the back office, it's going to be exponentially more difficult to support a vision that includes more people and logistics.

  • Make a list of the systems or processes that aren't effectively supporting the church today.
  • Determine which items, when fixed, would have the most impact on supporting the church.
  • Then start making incremental improvements.

Talk with your pastor to get him on board, especially if you'll need to make significant changes. Explain how these changes will enable your team to more effectively support the vision.

3. Plan for the future

Does the vision include 200 new members within the next few years? Does it involve a new or expanded church facility? Does your pastor want to launch a podcast?

What will it take to support those changes? Will you need a new church management system? Is your current technology sufficient to support a podcast? Do you need to engage an architect to determine if your current campus could support more people?

These are questions to consider and raise with your church leadership during planning sessions or budget discussions. They may cringe as you bring up pesky details, but stay persistent. Make sure they understand how addressing these details now can make it easier to achieve the vision.

The behind-the-scenes details can easily get lost in the shuffle and excitement of a powerful vision. However, your detail-oriented management skills are vital in helping to make the vision a reality.