George Barna is the founder of The Barna Group, a marketing research company. Barna has written other books about leadership and church growth such as, The Power of Team Leadership and Grow Your Church from the Outside In; however, Barna stated in the introduction to The Power of Vision that he had never before “had a book that seemed to be written through me rather than by me.”
In this book, Barna stresses the importance for pastors and church leaders to discover God’s vision for their ministry and the church. Although “vision” is a popular topic both in business and in church administration, Barna states that few churches, believers, or even senior pastors have an understanding of God’s vision for ministry. This book contains simple, direct principles for discovering God’s vision, casting the vision, and helping others catch and implement the vision for the glory of God.
Barna’s main purpose in writing The Power of Vision is to challenge pastors and leaders to discover God’s vision for their ministry and then develop and implement the vision. In my opinion, Barna does a good job of accomplishing the intended purposes of the book. Barna defines “vision” as “a clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God to His chosen servants and is based upon an accurate understanding of God, self and circumstances.”
He then breaks the definition down into four more detailed components: A clear mental image; a preferable future; a future focus; an impartation by God. Throughout the book, Barna refers to the different components of this definition, but he continually stresses the most important component: vision is imparted by God.
Barna also paints a clear picture of a visionary leader by listing the requirements for catching God’s vision and describing the characteristics of a visionary. Vision requires knowing God, knowing self, and understanding circumstances such as needs, opportunities, and barriers. Visionary pastors have “an urgent need to seek god’s glory by doing His work, His way, according to His vision.”
The main aspect of this book that I consider to be important is that it is an easy read. The book is short and is written in simple language instead of being filled with confusing jargon.
Also, the book gives detailed, precise information in a very direct, straight-forward manner.
Third, and most important, Barna gives God the glory for the inspiration for this book. Anyone with a serious desire to be an effective leader will look for ways to enhance their skills but few people have time to wade through large books cluttered with technical, confusing jargon. Barna offers relevant information in a simple format.
Barna not only explains the process of catching, casting, and implementing vision, he also provides information about common misconceptions regarding vision. In chapter three, Barna explains the difference between vision and mission because the two are often confused. He then corrects 20 of the most common myths about vision. It is often easier to understand how to do something correctly if one first understands what they were doing incorrect.
Although, I am not a pastor, nor am I in a leadership position in a church, I enjoyed reading The Power of Vision. Anyone seeking direction regarding God’s call for them in ministry should read this book. As a part of the body of Christ, all Christians have a purpose and a work to do within the ministry. Discovering God’s vision for life and ministry is important for all of God’s people. It is especially important for pastors because they are called to lead the flock. Having a clear vision imparted by God will give pastors direction to lead effectively. This book is inspiring and challenging and would make a valuable addition to any pastor’s library.
Source: George Barna. The Power of Vision. 3rd Ed. (Ventura, CA: Regal/Gospel Light, 2009)