For all the talk about the importance of defining an individual’s or organization’s vision, I’d never latched onto a definition of the word itself that really captured my imagination. Then one of my teammates here at IBC, David Grant, sent me this article by Scott Cormode for Fuller Seminary. Here’s how Cormode defines vision:
Vision is a shared story of future hope.
I just love that. Cormode’s piece is about how stories can compel people toward meaningful change. In fact, there’s a great example in the article about the leaders of a next generation ministry that took seriously the challenge to give their students stories of future hope.
If you’re still wondering what a shared story of future hope might look like, consider Cormode’s opening example: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. What was perhaps the most beautiful, compelling, and revolutionary vision of the last 100 years went something like this:
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
And of course we know that Dr. King’s dream ultimately pointed to a story of future hope that was articulated long ago:
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plains, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all the flesh shall see it together.
As someone who has dedicated much of his thinking lately to story as it relates to the people of God, I owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Cormode for his helpful definition: Vision is a shared story of future hope. Here at IBC we’re doing what we can to tell a shared story of future hope — the story of what God has done, is doing, and will do in and through us — and we’re inviting all who hear to join in.