Rev. Dr. Marcio Coelho of Otterburne, Man., is
associate professor of business at Providence
Find more of these columns at www.Faith Today.ca/
When is the best time to start a business, plant a church or take on a new venture? Usually we assume it’s best
when our organization is well established and finance, operations,
management and communication
are functioning well.
Frankly, this assumption is unreal and unhelpful. When we’re
honest, we admit life doesn’t follow
our preferred patterns. Things
happen despite our best efforts.
So let’s admit we can’t control the
environment around us, and that
there’s little point waiting for external things to come together.
Why not focus on the inner
qualities that make an entrepreneur ready to start, regardless of
the outward situation? One thing
that has the power to make us go
much further than we usually think
is our dreams.
A lot of research has been conducted about the power of a dream.
Many of us know the famous refrain, “I have a dream,” and its effect
on an entire nation.
We can also see the power of a
dream giving strength to the people
of Israel, for example, during their
captivity in Egypt, to face all kinds
of adverse situations without losing hope.
Having a dream is the first stage
of the inner compulsion that can
push us further. However, the dream
itself may not make us resilient
enough to go through adversity. A
dream should be followed by a vision.
A dream without a vision will
only be a hope in something better
in the future. But a dream combined with a vision can make that
A vision gives real shape to the
dream, helping us see the future as
if it was happening now, right in
front of us. I learned this lesson when
I was an assistant pastor in a poor
suburban area in Campinas, Brazil.
Together with a church elder
who was a businessperson, we met
with 20 congregants about a church
plant. The elder concluded our
meeting, asking them to visualize
how they would like their new
church to be. They were only at the
fundraising stage, but he told them
to close their eyes and try to see all
the details of that building, which
did not exist at that time.
He challenged them to picture
all the details – the stained glass
windows, the doors, the foyers, the
parking lot, everything.
Considering the purchasing
power of those people at that time,
the visionary exercise would seem
like a complete waste of time.
But when I returned a few years
later, I saw the power of that vision.
They have a beautiful building and
a vibrant service there every week.
After this experience I started
practising envisioning the future in
as much detail as I could, and gradually it became easier for me to do.
The vision of the Promised Land
kept the Israelites moving forward
and gave them the strength to keep
marching through the desert. If
God had not transformed their
vague dreams of freedom from
Pharaoh into a compelling vision of
a land flowing with milk and honey,
they probably would have given up.
An important part of this shift
from dream to vision was getting as
much information as they could
about the land they had to conquer.
They sent spies to see if the land was
good or bad, if the people who lived
there were strong or weak, few or
many, what kind of towns the people
lived in, and what crops the soil
could produce. They even brought
back some of the fruit of the land
because it was the season for the first
ripe grapes (Numbers 13: 17–20).
You can’t get more visual than that!
These biblical examples have
many lessons to teach us, but at least
one of them is about the importance
of planning. Of course this is also a
lesson well known in the business
world, perhaps using words like
these: Extensive data collection that
ends up in a comprehensive business plan is a crucial starting point
for entrepreneurial action.
We need to remember dreams
are not a waste of time, if we ask
God to help us turn them into a
clear vision of the future. /FT
The visionary exercise would seem like a
complete waste of time. But…
BY MARCIO COELHO
Envisioning the dream
Why daydreaming together is important work