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So You're Not A Visionary

By Gary Robinson
There it is again, that word. If I hear it again, I think I’m going to scream.

The word is “vision,” its kissin’ cousin, “visionary.” These are the modern mantras of leadership. A leader must be a visionary, a “vision caster.” He must know where he’s going and how to get there. He must get the people he leads to buy, appreciate, and otherwise get onboard his vision.

But what if you’re a leader...who’s not a visionary? I used to believe that a visionary was by definition one who stayed on the cutting edge of society, alert and ready to catch the next cultural wave. I’ve always had a problem, however, seeing the wave, let alone catching it! Let me give you an example.

A couple of years ago, Mel Gibson made a movie, “The Passion of The Christ.” Chances are, your congregation bought rolls of tickets, climbed aboard a bus (or a fleet of buses), and went to see the movie. Why? Christian leaders considered the excursion to be a fresh means of deepening faith and a culturally savvy tool of evangelism. After all, our generation is visually oriented, having grown up on a steady diet of TV and movies. It was the visionary thing to do.

But I didn’t have the vision. Somebody else thought of it, not me. How depressing!

Then there was the time our church bought another building. We definitely needed it. The benefits of having another building were obvious. But I didn’t suggest that we buy it. I hadn’t even thought of us buying more property.

Then there was the M.O.P.S (Mothers of Pre-schoolers) ministry. Wonderful program. It’s not only been a big help to the young mothers of our community; it’s exposed them to the Gospel. Sure wish I’d thought of it!

About now you’re wondering whether this is the church custodian writing. Nope. This is the preaching minister writing. And now you’re asking, “What in the world are you, Mr. No Vision, doing in such an important position of church leadership?” Believe me, I’ve asked myself that question many times!

What Is Vision?

What is “vision,” really? If it’s being able to see where you’re going, I must confess that often I can’t. Neither do bats, I’m told. Yet somehow they manage to get where they’re going—even in the dark. God gave them the ability to do so. He’s done the same for all the people He’s chosen to lead. “Blind as a bat” is but one way to describe many of them!

Take Moses, for example. Was this a man with a vision of liberty, aching for a chance to tell old Pharoah, “Let my people go?” As a matter of fact, he argued with God over his qualifications for the job (Exodus 4)! As it turned out, Moses did what God told Him. He led Israel out of Egypt, went where God told Him to, and did what God told Him to. But that’s just the thing. God or somebody always had to tell Moses what to do and when. The poor guy couldn’t even figure out that he needed help in settling the people’s quarrels (Exodus 18).

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