‘Mission’ and ‘vision’ are both words that indicate a forward look. When we talk of our mission, we are looking forward as far as we can see. When we talk of vision, we are looking forward beyond what we can see. Whenever we ask the question, ‘What do we want to do” the discussion that follows will be about ‘mission’. Whenever we ask, “Who do we want to be” the discussion that follows will always be about vision.

Wayside’s mission is to “Create Community with no Us and Them”. That’s what we aim for in everything we do. Sometimes we hit mission and a phenomenal burst of life and transformation takes place; sometimes we are miles away from mission and simply in a state of “wishin”. We’ve learned that mature leaders are those who don’t panic in the wishin stage but rather use it to sort our stuff and look to be captured by our mission again.

The phrase, “Love over Hate” describes our vision. We want to be an organization that lives on the intersection of love and hate. Often enough, it’s a dangerous intersection. We want to find our place in the intersection between the haves and have-nots; between the Christians and the Muslims; the theists and the atheists; the in and the out; the sick and the well. We want to be a people who live in this dangerous intersection in a way that maximizes the chances of love prevailing.

We don’t own our vision. We can’t franchise our vision. Our vision is always out there, always ahead, always calling us to be more. If we could be experts in our own vision and seek to proselytize, we would have destroyed our vision. Our vision admits no experts. No formula leads us to our vision and when we really get it, we emerge with no formula. We do not go to people and say, “Believe the following propositions and you’ll get it”, instead we say, “Walk with us and you’ll get it”. Or allow us to walk with you and we’ll get it.

Our mission is our boat, our sails and our rigging. Our vision is the wind that causes us to move to our destiny.

This post originally featured in The Wayside Chapel's On the Verge newsletter. To read more stories from On the Verge click here.
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