Vision, Christian Leadership, Pt. 7
Vision, Christian Leadership, Pt. 7By: Todd Hudnall
Christian leaders have a vision for a preferred future. In his book Visionary Leadership, Burt Nanus provides a definition for vision:
Vision is a realistic, credible, attractive future for your organization. It is your articulation of a destination toward which your organization should aim, a future that in important ways is better, more successful, or more desirable for your organization than is the present.
For the leader vision is a divine dissatisfaction with the way things are, a divine insight into the way things could be, a divine imperative about what should be and a divine urgency to make it happen. In his book Visioneering, Andy Stanley describes the passion of vision:
There is always a moral element to vision. Vision carries with it a sense of conviction. Anyone with a vision will tell you this is not merely something that could be done. This is something that should be done. This is something that must happen. It is this element that catapults men and women out of the realm of passive concern and into action. It is the moral element that gives a vision a sense of urgency.
In Courageous Leadership, Bill Hybels emphasizes the importance of vision for the leader:
Vision is at the very core of leadership. Take vision away from a leader and you cut out his or her heart. Vision is the fuel that leaders run on. It’s the energy that creates action. It’s the fire that ignites the passion of followers. It’s the clear call that sustains focused effort year after year, decade after decade, as people offer consistent and sacrificial service to God.
In studying comeback churches Stetzer and Dodson point out the value of vision in a church revitalization effort:
Comeback leaders are able to explain, both in speech and in writing, what a better future looks like. They convince people that things are not acceptable as they are, and then describe a better future to pursue. That vision and imagery make a dramatic difference.
When a new leader arrives at a church, it is unrealistic and counterproductive to expect him to be able to articulate a clear vision for a ministries future. Instead, he should take time to learn and understand both the church and the church’s community, while simultaneously asking the Lord for a vision of God’s preferred future for the congregation. Within the first year of his tenure the pastor should begin to come to an understanding of what God wants to do in enabling the church to reach its community for Christ. Leadership expert Ken Blanchard writes, “While leaders should involve people in shaping direction, the ultimate responsibility for ensuring and maintaining a vision remains with the leaders and cannot be delegated to others.” The pastor is not the creator of the vision for true vision comes from God. The pastor is simply entrusted with being a steward of the vision.
Once the vision has been defined the leader must begin moving the church in the direction of the vision. Pursuing the vision will include communicating the vision, aligning the ministries, programming, staffing and budgeting around the vision, and creating a plan for turning the vision into a reality. Blanchard writes:
The moment you identify your vision, you need to behave as if it were happening right now. Your actions need to be congruent with your vision. A magnificent vision articulates people’s hopes and dreams, touches their hearts and spirits, and helps them see how they can contribute. It aims everyone in the right direction.
 Burt Nanus, Visionary Leadership, 3.
 Andy Stanley, Visioneering,, 17.
 Hybels, Courageous Leadership, 31.
 Stetzer and Dobson, Comeback Churches, 48.
 Ken Blanchard, Leading at a Higher Level, 30.
 Blanchard, 29-30.