The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” (Gen. 11:6)
When I travel to West Africa, my second home, it’s always frustrating. I know some of the language and can make my way through, but not well enough to really get anything done. So, my wife has to step in and speak the language (her native home).
There’s a difference between just communicating and speaking the same language. When we speak the same language, a few words have the power to paint a much larger picture. And when trying to cast vision, you can’t just communicate, your words need the power to paint mind pictures.
These are three things I’ve seen as vital in that process …
1. Change the words.
When you hear a word, it creates a picture in your mind and often times evokes some type of emotion. And when we cast a new or fresh vision, we need to speak words that allow a new mind picture to be formed.
So, use new words and phrases that allow you to assign to those words and phrases the picture of the future. Use language that brings new emotion and energy.
Like, if you want to restructure your adult meetings on Sunday morning, and still call it “Sunday school” … you’re doomed! You can’t change expectations when using the same language. That language already has too many predetermined mind pictures and emotions associated with the term.
2. Use simple words.
Your new terminology should be at a sixth-grade level, and yet meet these three goals:
Memorable—The words need power and originality.
Repeatable—The words and phrases need a “rhythm” that makes it easy to remember when sharing with others.
Tweetable—Yeah, it needs to be short. Well … very short, certainly a lot less that 140 characters! Shorter and more distinct gets the most “retweets.” And when trying to gain momentum in a new vision, you need all the retweets you can get.
3. Use the new words everywhere.
Your new language has to be reinforced across all platforms. You know the drill: When you’re sick of sharing the vision, those you lead are just getting it. So it’s vital that your newly worded vision is shared just the way you say … everywhere.
Correct anyone who refers to the vision using the old language! If the same old words are used in conjunction with new, it will die! Make sure those with a platform and all leaders know how to communicate using the new language.
Remember … “Speaking the same language … nothing they plan will be impossible for them.” (Tower of Babel—Gen. 11)