vision & communication

Casting Vision

Jonathan “JP” Pokluda (Dallas Campus Pastor) and David Marvin (Young Adults Director of Programs) talk with Adam and John about the 5 C’s of Casting Vision. As leaders of the largest young adult gathering in the country, JP and David show leaders how to practically and authentically share a heroic vision to change the world, even with a small group of people.

Podcast Link

Introduction - Why Casting Vision is Important (00:38)

“Leaders live in the future.” — John McGee

JP shared that people don’t follow a leader. They follow a vision. Leadership is people moving a common direction behind a person. One of the best ways to communicate this is to start with the words, “Imagine if…” Leaders must paint a vision of a future that their followers want.

Heroic Vision Starts with the Why (1:31)

“If God is not a part of it, it will fail.” - David Marvin

“People don’t want to just show up; they want to change the world.” - John McGee

The Porch, Watermark’s young adult ministry, emphasizes heroic vision for their people. This means calling them to something bigger than the ordinary that moves them to action.

JP gave an example of picking up trash. If leaders live in the practical, they’ll just ask people to pick up five pieces of trash in the parking lot. But the heroic vision starts with the why. It would start in the beginning, explaining that God gave us this earth to steward it. More specifically, he gave us this property to take care of, but someone has littered it. Can you imagine what it would look like for us to move through this place and redeem it, make it what it should be? We’re going to restore Eden in this parking lot. This is a different, more inspiring call to action.

The heroic vision for the Porch is, “Surrendered to God, we are changing the world through young adults.” Another vision that originated out of a message from the Porch is a bold prayer, asking God to save every single young adult in Dallas and Fort Worth. People responded to it because of how big of an ask it was.

Mistakes Leaders Make (5:50)

One of the biggest mistakes leaders make is by starting with the “what” or the “how.” Although that’s necessary, JP recommended not starting there. Instead, start with the “Imagine if” statements. “Imagine if our parking lot is an example to the rest of the world?”

David also shared that this should trickle down even to every day tasks asked of volunteers. As an example, when David was early on in his ministry at the Porch, JP suggested that instead of simply asking a volunteer to change a graphic on Facebook, he should remind her of the “why.” The email could have read something like this, “Facebook is one of the most strategic opportunities that we have. With a click of a button, thousands of people can be impacted. As you steward this page, will you help us think through increasing ways that we could be more effective in our Facebook page? Here’s the new graphic for the upcoming series, but if you don’t think changing it is the most effective, then don’t do it.” This gives her ownership and reminds her of the vision. Although it takes time, it’s worth it.

5 C’s of Casting Vision (8:30)

  • Cast It Convincingly (8:43)
  • Cast It Constantly (9:48)
  • Celebrate It (12:51)
  • Communicate It Personally (14:22)
  • Call Them Heroically (20:04)

Cast It Convincingly (8:43)

Identify the problem that you are trying to address and help your followers connect the dots to what is at stake should the problem not be solved. An example of this is passing out flyers or bulletins at the front door. The Porch does not tell their volunteers that they are simply passing out flyers. They’re handing out hope that comes in a little piece of paper. They’re on mission by engaging with the people who walk into the doors. It’s important for volunteers to attach what’s at stake if they don’t play their role.

Cast It Constantly (9:48)

People easily forget, so vision should be communicated at all times. Your goal should be that people make fun of you because you repeat it so often or they cut you off mid-sentence because they’ve heard it a thousand times.

John McGee also encouraged leaders to remember that the vision is the most clear to them. Leaders have spent more time with it than their people, so remember to repeat it often.

Celebrate It (12:51)

“What’s rewarded is repeated.” - David Marvin

Vision is emphasized when it’s celebrated. An example of this is when Porch volunteers initiate conversations with people who are sitting alone. When leadership sees a volunteer doing this, they take the time to write a note or celebrate it during a volunteer meeting. It’s through their small actions that the overall vision of the ministry is lived out.

Communicate It Personally (14:22)

A mistake leaders sometimes make is trying to speak outside of their voice. If a leader isn’t funny or challenging, but tries to be either of those things, they will come off as inauthentic and ineffective. People want authenticity and transparency. They want a vision that is put in front of them poured through the leader’s personality.

JP took a small detour in the podcast from the 5C’s to encourage leaders to not take it personally if their people ask questions that have been answered over and over again. Just say it again even more loudly.

David also shared that it takes time to find “your voice” as a leader. He struggled with finding his voice under JP’s shadow because they both speak differently. JP’s advice for finding your voice is to look at your life and see when you were most effective. When did people listen? What did you do well? Also, ask for feedback from your community group or your staff. Usually, however, most people know their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to communication.

Going back to the communicating vision personally, JP encouraged leaders to live out their vision because they will be ineffective if they don’t. The definition of leadership is found in Mark 10, when Jesus says that he came to serve, not to be served.

John shared that JP models this well when he both encourages his staff to share their faith, then explains a recent experience he had doing just that.

Call Them Heroically (20:04)

People who have done significant things had heroic visions for their lives. Martin Luther King showed people a future reality. Steve Jobs told everyone he was going to redefine communication for everyone, everywhere, which dramatically altered how companies now release products. People’s hearts were moved by their boldness and as the church, we have the opportunity to communicate the greatest message ever given to the world.

Leaders should push people to excellence. In Matthew 16, Jesus started with just 12 inadequate guys and told them that he was pulling them into an unstoppable movement that was so strong the gates of Hades wouldn’t even come against it. And they changed the world. Heroic vision is central to communicating the gospel, preaching, leading, and all forms of communication.

If you’re struggling to know how to apply this to your church context because it’s too small or you’re fearful to “get too heroic”, remember principle #4. Are you believing the lie that what you do doesn’t matter? That it’s too hard? If God wanted to do everything He could through your small group of people, what would it look like? Let that dream and narrative build.

JP also encouraged leaders to be who God made them, not like anyone else. Start with prayer and take time to ask God what he is asking you to do. Every strong vision starts with a pause. Just like shooting an arrow, you have to pause before releasing to aim at your target. That pause can be a week, a month, or even a year if needed. It’s so important to stop and talk with the Lord before coming down Mount Sinai to talk to the people.

Leaders also do not need to know all of the steps to get to that vision before casting it. John encouraged leaders to not freeze if they don’t know the “how” and “what” yet. The best ideas and direction happen when you have a clear, compelling “why” and rally your people. The “what” and the “how” will work out as you start with the “why.”

Can You be Too Visionary? (26:20)

It’s possible for leaders to be inauthentic or overload their people when casting a vision. To avoid this, leaders need to be in tune with their followers.

Adam also brought up that not everyone responds to motivation in the same way. If we get too heroic on them, it can shut them down. This is why we have to know our people well. Adam likes to have three tasks to complete after hearing the vision, so in their meetings, JP switches gears to give him those places to start. This was a result of Adam asking JP to give him more clear direction.

David also encouraged leaders to remind their volunteers that this is a team effort. Emails that praise JP’s message aren’t just for JP. The only reason why he can create those messages is because he’s not worried about other ministries, the budget, or volunteer tasks. The other players on the team take care of those things. The body of Christ means all of us working together towards a common goal. Telling your people this reminds them that they are important and what they do matters.

Conclusion (31:09)

If your team can’t tell you the vision of your ministry, it’s probably time to communicate it more or go get it. Spend time fasting, praying, asking God what to do. Work it out with your team and make it more compelling than asking people to just show up.


Application Questions

  • Can your volunteers or team tell you the vision?
  • Are you identifying problems that your followers can address?
  • How often do you repeat your vision?
  • How can you celebrate your volunteers when they live out the vision?
  • Are you living out the vision personally?
  • Are there any lies you are believing that are prohibiting you from casting a heroic vision?

Resources Mentioned

Start with Why by Simon Sinek


Questions or comments? Email CLP@WATERMARK.ORG