As Prison Fellowship International leaders, our God-given vision to lead ministries in our countries is one of our most powerful assets, and should guide all we do. It should inspire and motivate us to achieve great things for God. As scripture says, “…without vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18a, KJV).
Your ability to share this vision with your team is critical to the future vitality of your ministry.
One of my heroes is Winston Churchill: an amazing English leader who, I believe, almost single-handedly changed the course of World War II. During one of the darkest periods of the war, Churchill spoke all over the UK, attempting to build morale in the midst of non-stop German attacks. Churchill’s tour took him to a small coal-mining town, where he spoke to hundreds of miners. Many of them lived far from home and felt isolated, and as though they weren’t doing enough to support the war effort. Churchill told them:
“We will be victorious! We will preserve our freedom. And years from now when our freedom is secure and peace reigns, your children and children’s children will come and they will say to you, “What did you do to win freedom in the Great War?” And one will say, “I marched with the 8th Army.” Someone else will proudly say, “I manned the submarine.” And still another will say, “I guided the ships that moved the troops and supplies.” And still another will say, “I doctored the wounds.”’
After a pause, he continued with great emotion:
“And when they come to you and ask, you will say with equal right, and with equal pride, “I cut the coal! I cut the coal that fueled the ships. I cut the coal that moved the supplies. That’s what I did, I cut the coal!’”
Winston Churchill knew the importance of imparting vision to every single person under his leadership. And he wanted these miners, who thought they were doing a thankless, dirty job, far from the front lines, to understand their efforts had purpose. He gave them a vision. He painted a vivid picture, and reminded them they were valuable to the war effort.
We all need vision. Every person we minister to is hungry to be part of a bigger story. Every Prison Fellowship affiliate is a valuable part of our ministry. And each member needs to know his role—even if it’s cutting coal—is critical to the vision God gave us.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23, NIV).