IVP - Online Pulpit - Vision - A Critical Need of a Leader

July 1, 2007

Vision - A Critical Need of a Leader

The words of Robert Fritz are permanently etched in my mind: “It is not what a vision is, it’s what a vision does.”

What Does Vision Do?

Vision sees. Helen Keller was asked, “Is there anything worse than being blind?” “Yes,” she replied, “having eyesight but no vision!” Vision is the stuff of the future—the vivid image of the compelling future God wants to create through you and your congregation. Mike Vance tells of being at Disney World soon after its completion when someone said, “It’s too bad Walt Disney didn’t live to see this.” Vance replied, “He did see it—that’s why it’s here.” George Bernard Shaw: “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream of things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’” The best leaders and the most powerful motivators are those with the ability to envision today what others see tomorrow.

Vision believes. Abraham decided not to live on the basis of what he couldn’t do but what God said he would do. A. W. Tozer said, “God is looking for those through whom he can do the impossible. What a pity that we settle only for those things we can do ourselves!” Vision is the capacity to step beyond our limitations and into God’s ability.

Vision acts. Twenty times Scripture exhorts us to be courageous. Thucydides, a Greek historian, concluded, “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding—go out to meet it.”

Vision instructs. Too often we choose paths before we know the destination. Without a clear view of our destination, we can determine only that we are moving, not whether we are progressing. Vision guides our decisions.

Vision interprets. Vision distinguishes the good options from the bad and, more importantly, the best opportunities from the good. It clarifies the significance of our condition and the relevance of our alternatives.

Vision inspires. John Stuart Mill said, “One person with a dream is equal to a force of 99 who have only an interest.” People tire, but not of pursuing their dreams. A person’s dream is equivalent to his battery pack. Like the energizer bunny, a great pastor will have a crystal-clear, consistent, inspiring dream that will energize the congregation for thirty or forty years.

To see your vision become reality do three things: See it clearly, say it continually, and show it creatively.

What Kind of Vision Do You Have?

Myopic vision. Leaders with myopic vision are so terribly near-sighted that they live only for today. Their vision of the future is fuzzy.

Peripheral vision. Leaders with peripheral vision are blindsided by side issues. They are fearful of shadowy difficulties and people standing on the sidelines that might defeat their efforts. Thus forward movement is hampered.

Tunnel vision. Leaders with tunnel vision see only what’s dead ahead of them and assume that their restricted view of reality represents the whole world.

Panoramic vision. Leaders with panoramic vision see the big picture. They see beyond today—what is ahead and what is to their sides. Pastors with a vision have a grasp of the key ingredients of a healthy church and know the steps that it will take to get them there.

Vision is perhaps the greatest need of church leadership today. As someone said, “Our preachers aren’t dreaming. That’s why the church is such a nightmare.”

Posted by Rick Ezell at July 1, 2007 9:41 AM Bookmark and Share

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