Some say the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. I disagree. The journey of a thousand miles begins by identifying the destination.

Before you do the important work of setting your 2012 goals, you must get out the Windex and clear up your view of where you/your team/your congregation are going. Coaching is all about intentionally moving forward. We always need to know what vision we're heading towards. Otherwise, we’re taking action just for action’s sake.

If you were planning a trip to Alaska, you would need to make very different preparations and decisions than if you were planning a trip to Hawaii. Imagine how cold you'd be in your bathing suit!

There are plenty of resources out there that will help you with the visioning process, but my belief is that it’s not as complicated as what some people make it out to be. I’ve been doing vision work with people and organizations for 20 years, and what I see is that we don’t create visions, we uncover them – and a single powerful question can make that happen.

What do you really, really, REALLY want?

An ongoing compass

If you can get into the habit of clearing away the confusion and drama of everyday life, and widening your view to your over-arching vision, this vision can guide you all year long. You can refer to it every time you sit down to do a task, have a conversation or lead from the pulpit. Open your mind beyond today's reality and take in the vision of what you're heading towards.

This is especially important before you make a commitment to start something new or add something to your schedule. Are you keeping enough space between the logs of your fire? How does this new opportunity fit into your vision? Use your vision as a litmus test so you don't stray too far or dilute your precious resources of time, people and energy.

Make sure to write your vision down. Mental notes are not nearly as powerful as seeing those goals in black and white in front of you. To keep your vision in view, post it prominently around your Church, office and home. Pictures or other visual cues may help. Here is a personal example: long before I acquired my dream car, my Corvette, I had a model Corvette on my desk for years.

Create a vision team

I don't know about you, but when I was a pastor I would sometimes got distracted by new ideas, options and opportunities. And if I was really keen on doing something, I could finagle it into my congregation's vision, whether it fit or not.

That's why it's important to widen the circle so you're not the only one doing this questioning. Use your vision as a compass, but don't travel alone. Instead, have a cross-section of people who are bringing your Church's vision into the decision-making process.

This will bring more accountability and a wider perspective into the process, and protect the greater vision of your community as a whole.

Author's Bio: 

J. Val Hastings, MCC is the founder and president of Coaching4Clergy, which empowers today’s spiritual leaders through coaching, consulting and coach training. Did you know that 6 out of 10 churches will close over the next 10 years? Visit and for the information, resources and services that will help you ensure a sustainable future for your congregation.