What is the purpose of vision?

It’s easy to get confused with vision. Lots of different people, teams and organisations now have vision statements, mission statements, purpose statements, and more. Should we all adopt vision according to the same formula?

Some people, when asked to share their vision, will say a finely polished sentence. Another will tell you a story. A third might try and describe something they see in their mind’s eye. Which is correct? Does it matter what formula we use?

I don’t think it does. The formula is immaterial. The two key things that I’ve come to learn about vision are that it should give you direction and passion. That’s the purpose of vision. If it does both these things, then great. If it doesn’t clarify direction or motivate passion, then it’s not a great vision statement, not matter how finely honed and comprehensive it sounds.

Direction: Vision should help in setting direction, establishing priorities and clarifying goals. If your vision doesn’t help you in clarifying the direction you are travelling in, it’s not doing its job.

Passion: Bill Hybels says “Vision is a picture of the future that produces passion.” Does your statement light a fire inside you, giving you renewed energy and commitment so you keep going through the hardships. Again, if it doesn’t, it’s not doing its job.

Direction and passion. These two things are the purpose of vision. The format really doesn’t matter. The key thing is, does your vision unleash these two attributes, in your team, your organisation, or yourself?

Mark Williamson is a founding director of One Rock International. He’s a lay preacher and leader within the Methodist Church, author of a biography on John Wesley, and is currently researching for a biography on William Wilberforce. He enjoys good films, good food, praying for London, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna.