The Anatomy of Visions vs. Ideas

There is a difference between an inspired vision and an idea. How do you know? Unfortunately, the answer to that question remains elusive until its too late. Here at Downtown Church we've pursued a few urges that we considered visionary only to find out that God wasn't interested. These urges might become good ideas worth implementing but they aren't visionary. Visions change things, they compel people to see the world differently, and they are impossible to ignore. Ideas, even the good ones, rearrange the furniture a bit while visions eliminate some of the furniture, or suggest a move to an entirely different house. In 7 years as a pastor, I've shared in some good ideas, but I've only pursued one vision based on what you see below - helping to start a new church. Recently I was asked to illustrate the contrast between the two. I found it hard to do in narrative form, so I put together a handy-dandy chart. It's not comprehensive and you'll still need to make some judgments but it's better than guessing.