Dave Everson

Vox: Guidance vs. Vision

photo: compassThe words guidance and vision are both future-oriented, and many use them interchangeably. However, I tend to draw a distinction between the two. Here are my short definitions:

Vision is a long-term, usually general picture of what the future might look like when a project or transition is complete.
Guidance is a short-term, very specific instruction about the next step to take in the midst of the project or transition.

To say that even more concisely, vision is about the destination; guidance is about the journey.[1]

To unpack that a bit, here’s how the two terms operate distinctly from one another:

  • Vision is a picture of a possible future. Guidance is a specific step to take at a specific time.
  • Vision motivates and inspires. Guidance leads and directs.
  • Vision tempts you to force it into reality. Guidance restrains you to act only as the Father leads, trusting him to make the vision real.
  • Guidance tempts you to lose yourself in empty procedure. Vision gives procedure meaning and direction, preventing you from getting lost.
  • Vision and guidance can be compelling, exciting, frightening, and mystifying.
  • Vision is tested and refined and comes to pass through a thorough process of confirmation and obedience to guidance.

[1] Vision is also used commonly in secular contexts to describe a picture of the future. Guidance is less common, but similar process-oriented steps emerge from best practices, project management, goal-setting, iteration, etc. However, regardless of terminology, Christians bear a unique responsibility to discern how God wants to influence their decision-making in both church and secular contexts, both during the journey and at the destination.
Photo Credits
Compass: Olga Filonenko; CC BY-SA 2.0 license