Vision is the ability to see. Our vision helps us to see what is directly in front of us as well as what is in the distance. We can enhance our vision by looking through binoculars. With binoculars, objects that are far away appear to be right in front of our eyes. When relating vision to ministry, vision speaks of the ability to see with eyes of faith.
This is part of a blog series about getting your ministry started.
Maybe you have been following God’s call in ministry for a long time, but you feel the need to reignite what God began in your life. Sometimes we just need new inspiration and a fresh work of God.
I am assuming that you have moved through the first two steps identified in the past two blog posts, God’s Calling, God’s Commission, and Getting Your Ministry Started and Prayer Should Be At Every Stage Of Our Calling In Ministry.
You have accepted the call of God in your life to live committed to serving God in ministry. You have prayed and sought others support in prayer. The call is stirring deep within you and you feel the restlessness of, “What’s next?”
Vision is What’s Next!
I identified vision in my opening paragraph, but now I want to discuss what having vision in ministry looks like. Vision in ministry is the ability to see your calling clearly and to also be able to identify those to whom you will be called to minister.
When I reflect on the calling and ministry to which God has called each of us, I think of the Promised Land. For those of us in ministry, the fulfillment of God’s calling in our life is our Promised Land. That’s why I love the story of God preparing the people of Israel for their Promised Land.
In Numbers 13:17-20:
Moses obeyed God and sent spies into the Promised Land to get a vision of Canaan, details about the land, and a description of the people. They were setting their sights on the inhabitants of the land and how to effectively deal with them. This story helps me gain perspective and get a vision of those to whom we are called to minister and how to best minister to them.
In addition to learning about the land, Moses instructed the spies to get information about their homes and a description of the people. He wanted to know if the people were strong or weak and if they were rich or poor. Basically, Moses instructed them to “size up” the inhabitants of the Promised Land. We need to do the very same thing in ministry. We need to identify as many details as possible about those who dwell in our Promised Land (those to whom we are called to minister). Such information will be a key to having a clear vision for your specific ministry. In today’s world, this is most often known as identifying your target market.
In Seth Godin’s book Tribes he identifies a target market as a tribe. Tribes is an excellent resource in helping to get a clear vision of your target market, as is Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform.
Having a vision of ministry for your specific target audience is important because we must have an understanding of the individuals we are addressing if we want to speak into their lives in a significant, life-impacting way. Isn’t that what we want – to make a positive, godly, and lasting impact in the lives of those to whom we minister? Yes, of course it is! When God calls us to ministry, He puts within us a deep passion and burden to get the valuable message within us to our target audience. Why? We believe our message is life changing because we have lived it.
Here are 10 questions to help you get started with a vision of your target audience:
1) Who will benefit the most from my message?
2) What is their relationship status? (dating, married, single, divorced…)
3) Where do they live? (rural, urban, suberbs…)
4) Do they rent or own their home? (house, apartment, condo…)
5) Do they attend church or not? (If so, how often?)
6) What are their hobbies? (Are their hobbies inside or outside hobbies?)
7) What kind of work do they do? (Do they travel for work, work from home, go to an office…)
8) What is their income level? (What limitations or luxuries do they experience?)
9) What do they read, watch on TV, or browse on social media? (Name specific titles.)
10) What are the most difficult problems they face? (relational, financial, emotional, and/or spiritual)
The number one most difficult lesson I learned in identifying my target market!
When I began to minister, I thought my message was for every female from ages 13-113. Surely it was! But, in reality, it was not. A message with a target market that broad is an unheard message. After years of ministry and feeling like my message was more unheard than heard, I finally got the message that I needed to identify my specific target audience. It isn’t easy, but it really does make a difference. I learned that I can have a much greater impact with a smaller specified audience than I can with a generalized, broad, sweeping inclusion of all women everywhere.
Finally, I leave you with the words of Jesus.
Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’?
Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!