When you ask what vision is in the church world, you’ll get a dozen different definitions. My favorite comes from Bill Hybels. He says, “Vision is a picture of the future that produces passion.” I love that definition. But I’ve also learned the hard way that passion goes two ways.
When God gives you a vision for your life or your church, in your mind you see people rallying behind it because of the difference it’s going to make.
And the majority of people will rally behind it and will be passionate about partnering with you to accomplish it.
On the flip side of that, there are going to be some in your life and your church that are going to be just as passionate about making sure your vision never comes to pass.
I call these people vision vandals.
And they’re in every church just waiting for their chance to strike.
Many of them are great people. They have good intentions. They can even appear to be some of your best friends.
Yet, a new vision brings out the worst in them. Because a new vision means things will have to change, and vision vandals hate change. They will fight it every chance they get.
The saddest part is many times the vandals win, and good pastors lose.
I don’t want that to happen to you.
So, let me give you a few ways to spot these vandals before they hijack your vision.
- They want to control rather than serve.
One of the easiest ways to spot them is they’re quick to sign up to be on committees and boards, and yet they never sign up to actually serve anyone. Watch out for families who nominate their relatives. This could be a power move by them to gain more control.
- They will manipulate to get their way.
Vandals will always bring complaints to you but never give the names of those complaining. I would advise you to ignore these. Refuse to listen to them unless they give you the name of the person complaining so you can speak directly to them. Most of the time, you’ll find that they are really the person with the complaint, but they want to make you feel like it’s the entire church.
- They will talk behind your back and others.
If they have the tendency to come to you to complain or gossip about someone else, just know they’re doing the same thing to you. They will work behind the scenes to erode trust in you so that when you get ready to launch a new vision, ministry, or initiative they can tear it and you down.
- They are not team players.
They don’t play well with others. Instead of believing the best about their teammates, they will find a way to complain about them. They will tear down the team’s accomplishments in order to try to make themselves look better.
Many times they will show a complete lack of respect for others. Don’t let this slide. You’ll regret it later.
Ministry is hard enough without having your own people fight against you. Do everything you can to eliminate the vision vandals in your church as soon as possible. Because believe me, given the chance, they’ll eliminate you.
How have you handled vision vandals in your church? Leave a comment and let us know. Also take a second to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.
2 thoughts on “4 Ways to Identify a Vision Vandal”
I am dealing with this very thing right now. I am new to your blog so an article about this may already exist, but what are some ways you would encourage us to handle “vision vandals?”
Ron, thanks for the comment. In some ways in depends on the level of influence of the vandal. If its someone with very little influence then you can kindly ask them to support your vision or find another church. The more influence they carry the harder that is. You can try your best to get them to buy into the vision, but if they won’t then it may be time to cut them loose. You may lose some people, but you’ll benefit in the long run. Send me a message through my contact page if you want to discuss further.