Archives For Vision

Vision seems to be a popular word for good reason. Vision is what excites people and attracts them to nonprofits, companies, and churches. In this post I show how you can use vision (or mission) to recruit volunteers for your nonprofit program.

How to Use Vision to Recruit Volunteers

Photo Credit: Senior Living

I. What is vision?

A. Definition

It is a picture of what your organization (or individual program) hopes to create in the near future. Continue Reading…

I want to encourage you to create an inspiring mission for your city, nonprofit, church, or company. Why? Because in my experience I know that when you create an inspiring mission good things happen because people want to get involved and help.

My goal is for you to learn how to create an inspiring mission. As you may know I have experience running nonprofit programs, leading volunteers, and fundraising money to help make a difference in communities.

Nehemiah’s Model for Creating an Inspiring Mission

Photo Credit: TownePost Network

In 2005 I started a nonprofit program that fed more than 5,000 people in five years. Additionally, I worked at the United Way of Stanislaus County for six years raising funds to support community and coordinating volunteer groups. Together I’ve spent eight years working to improve the communities I’ve worked in, mostly through the nonprofit industry.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed doing over the past two years is studying the biblical book of Nehemiah in light of the work being done to transform and improve communities. Through this study I have observed some things Nehemiah did that can be transferred to our current context and cities. I would like to share with you just one principle that you can do and when you do do it, it can transform your city.

Let’s look at the book of Nehemiah to read two verses and see what it can teach us about how to be leaders who transform the city we live in. But, before we look at those two verses, let me start with a story. Continue Reading…

After my last post about how to create an inspiring mission you might be asking yourself, “Why should I have a mission that is short, exciting, and memorable?” Let’s look at two reasons.

pic of notebook and penFlickr Photo Credit: tonyhall

2 Reasons a Mission Must Be Short, Exciting, and Memorable: Continue Reading…

Working with volunteers can be one of the most beneficial and important elements to an organization’s success, but it also can greatly impede the work of an organization if not done correctly. In this post I will show you how to create in inspiring mission for your organization that will help to recruit and keep people engaged and passionate about the work your organization does.

pic of notebook and penFlickr Photo Credit: tonyhall

How do I know how to create an inspiring mission? I know how to do this because I have practiced it for five years while leading a nonprofit program called, A Day of Hope. For five years I worked with volunteers, donors, and the community of Turlock to feed over 1,000 families for Thanksgiving. This was a massive amount of work and it required a lot of help from a large number of volunteers. Continue Reading…

For my birthday this year my girlfriend purchased me a copy of Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff.

This is a great book for someone such as myself who works full-time and works part-time on nights and weekends towards a dream. I think it is a great book for any young leader who has a dream or vision in her heart to do something great, but who is having trouble making that dream or vision possible.

In Quitter Jon talks about some key principles people need to know if they are serious about making progress toward their dream.

Here’s a few quotes from the book that I feel are relevant to you and I as leaders who are working towards a dream and vision.

“When you keep your day job, all opportunities become surplus propositions rather than deficit remedies” (p. 14).
A major theme in Jon’s book is that if you have a dream you want to pursue it is a great advantage to keep a full-time paying job. The advantage is that you know your bills are going to be paid, you know you have good health insurance, and you have stability. If you have a solid full-time job it helps to provide you a springboard you can launch your dream from because you can pick and choose which opportunities to pursue and what you dedicate your time to simply because you know all your bills are taken care of. You get to do what you love to do because you do not have to do it for money.

“You have the perfect amount of time each day for the things that matter most. The key is spending time on those things” (p. 73).
Jon talks about building a schedule and system of how you can spend time working on your dream. His advice is to find a way to wake up an hour earlier every morning to work on your dream. Whatever your process might be, I agree that if you are committed to working on your dream you need to schedule time for it. For me, I know that from 7pm to 9pm I have time for my dream. I’m home by 5pm to enjoy a walk with my girlfriend, eat dinner, then get to work on homework, creating content, and writing. That gives me a good two hours every night that I get to dedicate to my dream of completing a college degree and creating content for this blog.

“Bad employees make horrible dreams . . . . You’re not just working; you’re practicing for your dream . . . . If you want your dream job to work, work on your day job.” 
This is an important principle that I have seen not lived out. Often I have come across people who are terrible at their 8 to 5 job because all they do is dream about their dream job. They do a crummy job at their paid job then expect to magically “turn on” their hard work switch to work on their dream job. It does not work that way and I am glad Jon touched on this in the book. He says that if you are serious about pursuing your dream job you need to start by giving everything you got your paying job.

I throughouly enjoyed and have benefited from Jon’s book. He has some great insights about how to make progress towards a dream and vision while still holding down a full-time job, being a great father, and a faithful husband.

If you know of someone chasing a dream on nights and weekends while still working a full-time job (or maybe that person is yourself) I would suggest Quitter as a great resource.

Question: What other principles do you believe are important when someone is working a full-time job and working to pursue a dream? 

My Sense of Call (part 2)

September 27, 2011 — Leave a comment

The first of these perils is that I am young.

Leadership seems to be best received by learners when it is being taught by someone who is older, experienced, and has been around the block for a while (or as my dad calls these people, “blue hairs”). Currently, I am 25 five years old, which is half the age of many people who are still actively in the workforce. This makes it difficult to offer advice, insight, or coaching when someone has had more experience and training than I might have had. In addition to that, some people believe that someone who teaches leadership does not know how to lead. The old urban legend of “Those who can’t do, teach” can be a hindrance to my ability to positively influence leaders.

However, the only way that you are able to teach is by having done something. And that something I do is reflect as much as possible on my experiences while also studying very hard every day in preparation for teaching leadership. Even though I still feel that my youth gets in the way of my ability to teach, I persist anyway—working hard to share what I have learned with other leaders so they can benefit from my experience and study. However, in the midst of my hard work I encounter another pitfall I need to be aware of: balancing family and work.

In the past I have had trouble balancing work and family life. Even though my little sister lived less than a mile from me, I had a bad habit of going weeks without seeing or speaking to her. My family life has drastically improved since I started dating Jen, my girlfriend, but I still might struggle with it from time to time. Because I have a tremendous desire to serve leaders, that puts me in danger of working a lot and putting my family on the back burner.

I want to be a loving husband to Jen in the future (when we are married) and I want to be a great father to my children. I do realize that doing a great job of serving leaders while also being a great family man is difficult, but it is something I am going to have to learn to juggle and balance as I continue with my work.

Luckily, I have had some great help in this area from men who have guided me. I have had a dear friend, Rod, who shared with me his story of almost losing his marriage because he worked so much, and I have benefited from reading and re-reading a book by Andy Stanley titled, Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins when Family and Work Collide?[1] In addition to fighting to be a good father and husband, I also need to be mindful of how to be loyal to my future wife.

Sexual temptation is something that most men have to work hard on to make sure it does not become a pitfall to their family life and ministry. My own sexual purity is something that I have worked very hard on over the past three years to get right with God on.

Currently, working at a nonprofit requires that I spend a lot of time around women. So I have put specific measures in place to prevent myself from being in positions where I might be tempted to commit sexual sin. But, as a young male I will always have to be on guard in this area in order to be sexually pure and to protect my mind, heart, and actions. Again, another book that I have greatly benefited from in this area is Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time by Steven Arterburn and Fred Stoker.[2]

Many Christian leaders have had great ministries completely washed away because of their sexual sin. As a young male moving forward with my ministry, I know sexual temptation is a pitfall I need to be mindful of and stay away from.

Another pitfall I will have to beware of as I move forward with my ministry to serve leaders is that starting something new is extremely difficult. Starting a new organization based on teaching leadership is especially difficult because I do not have a platform of authority to teach from. Even more difficult for me is that my core strength is writing, and there is very little money in writing books.

Therefore, I currently work full-time in order to support myself while at the same time working hard to do the work of teaching leaders in the evenings and on Sundays. (Saturday is my Sabbath day, a topic I will share later.) Given these three pitfalls, I have several practices that I know will help to mediate them either directly or indirectly, and I hope these spiritual practices will help me to move forward in my ministry.

Question: What are the perils and pitfalls you face in your work and ministry?

[1] Andy Stanley, Choosing to Cheat: Who Wins when Family and Work Collide? (Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Publishers, 2002).

[2] Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker, Every Man’s Battle: Winning the War on Sexual Temptation One Victory at a Time (Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press, 2009).


Today's post is part of my blog series of sharing chapter four of my book, A Day of Hope: Leading Volunteers to Make a Difference in Your Community. I hope you find reading the book over the next couple weeks to be enjoyable and beneficial to you as a leader.

Today's section is how to share your vision. This is an exciting topic to talk about as a leader. Enjoy!


Sharing vision is one of my favorite parts of A Day of Hope.  It’s when you get to say to someone or a group of people, “I’m passionate about something, this is why, and this is what we hope to do.”  It’s about telling people your goal is to feed 100 families and telling them how you hope to get there.

Sharing vision is how you will attract support and help.  If you can effectively share vision, you’ll start to receive help without having to ask for it.  We’ve received countless donations and volunteers because I told them what we were doing for A Day of Hope and before I knew it they were writing a check or showing up at one of our volunteer events to help.

I have two tips that will allow you to convey your vision to people in a way that will make it easy and desirable for them to join in. 

  1. Keep it short – A big vision doesn’t necessarily mean a long vision. Keep your vision short and simple.  Learn to say it in one sentence.  My vision for A Day of Hope is: “To give hope and encouragement to families in need for Thanksgiving.”  That one sentence of eleven words summarizes all the work we have done over five years.  Keeping your vision short will keep the attention of the person listening.  Go too long in describing your vision and you’ll loose the person’s interest.
  2. Be Passionate – This is one that I can do a little better job of myself.  I’m a pretty easy going guy who doesn’t get too excited over many things.  When you’re working on something, people can tell if you’re doing the work because you want to, or because you have to.  Being passionate has very little to do with what you say.  Research has shown communication consists of only 7 percent of what we say to someone.  55 percent of the message being communicated is through body language, and 38 percent is through the tone of voice we use (also known as voice inflection).  Passion isn’t about what you say; it’s about how you say it.  And how you say it is dependent on how you feel.  Eleanor Doan was quoted saying, “You cannot kindle a fire in any other heart until it’s burning within your own.”  If you’re passionate about doing this project called A Day of Hope (or whatever you call it in your community), people will know it and they’ll enjoy listening to you share your vision.

I’d be willing to contest that your vision and passion are the two most important elements in helping to put together a team.  Passion determines if people are attracted to what you’re doing.  And vision determines the size of the people who will be attracted to join your team. 

When people see that you’re really passionate and that you want to make a difference, they will naturally be attracted to you.  People are magically attracted to leaders with a vision they’re passionate about.  Big visions attract big people.  Small visions attract small people.  The bigger the vision you have, the bigger the people who will be attracted to you.  When you share your vision, don’t be afraid.  Don’t hold back.  When you share your vision, let it loose.  Let it run free.  Allow yourself to dream in front of others by painting them a picture of your vision. 

Because the bigger your vision is, the bigger and more capable the people will be who are attracted to it.

Question: How do you share your vision?

Leaders Think Forward

February 8, 2010 — 1 Comment

Recently I listened to an interview from the guys at Catalyst with Rick Warren, Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church and author of The Purpose Driven® Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?.

It's no secret that Rick Warren is an amazing leader who's built a church and led a movement that has saved thousands of people to Christ.

As I listened to the interview, I noticed how forward thinking he was. In the interview he outlined how him and his staff at Saddleback had started the church in 1980 with four decades of planning. He said they had a specific focus for the church for each decade that he wanted the church to focus on and work on.

Pretty amazing that as a small unknown pastor who barely knew what he was doing, had the foresight and thought to be planning 40 years ahead!

As a leader, are you thinking forward? What do you see in your life and your organization one year ahead, five years ahead, twenty years ahead, forty years ahead?

Quotes from my Desk (part 1): Victorious Because of Vision

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Leaders Are Visionary

January 6, 2010 — 2 Comments

Back in August I made a trip to Long Beach and rode along with a friend's mother-in-law who talked with me about the leader of her church. As we talked about her well known pastor, I heard her repeat over and over that her pastor was a "visionary."

Isn't that what leaders are to a certain extent? Leaders are visionary.

Not only are they visionary, but their vision is much larger than what they are capable of accomplishing on their own. That's what attracts people to them. The bigger the visionary leader, the bigger the vision, the bigger people that will be attracted to the vision.

Big visions attract big people.

As a leader, are you a visionary? Do you take regular time to think, dream and develop your vision?

I recently read Andy Stanley's book, Visioneering: God's Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision. It's probably the best leadership book on vision that I've read, and recommend it to you.