Vision is crucial for organizational and leadership success. Without a clear vision, leaders and organizations will stagnate and go nowhere. If leaders do not see where they are going, they are unlikely to get there.
Vision can serve as a True North for organizations and help leaders keep their bearings as they lead their people forward. Any organization with no clear vision of where it is going is in danger of mission drift and being sidetracked and failing to accomplish its purpose. A leader or an organization without a vision to serve is at risk of becoming self-serving.
Helen Keller was once asked, “What would be worse than being born blind”? She replied, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
A clear and compelling vision is critical for leaders and organizations. But where do ministry leaders get their vision?
I once led a national mission organization and was expected to have my vision to move the organization forward. There was tremendous pressure for me to come up with a personal vision. It was very stressful, especially when my vision did not match other leaders’ visions. Leaders are expected to generate a vision, envision a desirable future for their organization, and then develop a plan to achieve the results. The leader is responsible for interpreting the rapid global changes around them and looking into the future to determine the best approach for their organizations.
But God does not ask His leaders and followers to operate this way. When it comes to vision, no statement is more frequently quoted or misquoted by many Christian and non-Christian leaders than King Solomon’s famous observation: “Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18 KJV). A more accurate translation in Hebrew is, “Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint (Proverbs 29:18 NIV). People come up with a vision, while revelation is something people receive.
Great leaders can dream a vision but cannot discover God’s will. God must reveal it. Leaders who ignore God’s will project their vision and accomplish their own agendas.
Great leaders in the Bible like Abraham, Moses, David, Paul, and Peter received visions from God. Abraham did not become the father of many nations because he had a vision for it. God called him and revealed God’s vision to him. Abraham obeyed and led with God’s vision. Moses became the deliverer of Israel not because he had a leader-generated vision. God revealed to Moses His vision to deliver His people from Pharaoh. Moses obeyed and ran with God’s vision. It was not Paul’s vision to become the Apostle to the Gentiles. He persecuted the Church, but God called him on the road to Damascus. God revealed His vision to Paul. Paul obeyed and embraced God’s vision. Great leaders in the Bible did not come up with their vision. They did not create their vision. God revealed His vision to them. They obeyed, and God’s vision was their vision.
God has revealed His vision for the Church in Revelation 7:9-10:
9 After these things, I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all the tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and palm branches were in their hands; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
This is God’s vision for the Church, and He calls His leaders to obey and run with His vision to become a reality. Today, God’s vision has not changed. As we rebuild our vision for ministry in the 21st century, let us renew and rebuild our vision with God’s vision.