Proverbs 29:18a says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish."
When Diane and I discovered that we were pregnant with our seventh child, we knew something had to change. We were leading a growing church in the heart of San Francisco, but we were living in a three-bedroom, one-bath house with the bunkbeds in the garage and a half-hour wait for the bathroom! So with the help of a second mortgage and maxed out credit cards, we decided to build an addition on our house. One of our members was an architect, and he drew up the plans according to our "dream house" specifications.
Diane and I had a clear vision of what we wanted to build, but we didn't have most of the resources and skills necessary to build it. We needed others to help us, but without a clear vision, we would've never succeeded.
The biblical definition of vision is different than what many of us commonly think. Most of us think of a visionary as a motivational speaker hyping us up to contribute to a man-made plan. But the word for vision in the Bible is the word "revelation."
The New King James Version reads this way: "Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint, but happy is he who keeps the law." Biblical vision comes from an encounter with the living God!
God is the author and finisher of our faith, but He has invited us to partner with Him in fulfilling His purposes on the earth. God is the architect, and we are the builders. But, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it"(Ps.127:1). In another place, Jesus declared, "I will build My church", but then He gave us the keys and commanded us to bind and loose. (See Matt.16:16-19.) In other words, God is inviting us into a powerful partnership to see His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. But He maintains all rights as the senior partner.
If you are building anything in partnership with God, the vision was in His heart long before He gave it to you. He drew the blueprints in heaven, and He graciously downloaded them to you. You may be building a marriage, a home, a business or a ministry. Whatever you are building must originate in the heart of God before you build it on earth, or you are building in vain.
This is visionary leadership.
God is the architect of everything He wants you to build. He is the composer of the musical piece He wants you to play. When we superimpose our agenda on top of God's blueprint, we will produce frustration and failure.
Clear vision is essential to a well-built house. If there's no blueprint, how do the foundation layers do their jobs? How did the framers build walls? How did the plumbers lather pipes? As a leader, God has called you to be a builder! The question is: What are you building? Are you building a family? a business? a ministry? or a church?. Each requires a specific blueprint. According to Proverbs, this blueprint has two elements: 1) It is in full compliance with "the Law" or the governing principles of the Word of God; 2) It reflects the specific design that originates in the heart of God and is imparted to a receptive leader: revelation.
Becoming a Visionary Leader and Stewarding the Heavenly Blueprint
In Habakkuk 2:1-4, the prophet gives us a clear roadmap to follow.
— Stand your watch. Revelation is built on a foundation of biblical knowledge but cannot be received without an intimate relationship with God. We must learn to "watch and pray" to hear God's voice and receive the blueprints of heaven.
— Receive correction. Because we prophesy in part (1 Cor.13:9), we must keep refining the revelation in the fire of God's presence and biblical principles. This refining process requires humility but will remove barriers to fruitfulness.
— Write it down. You must learn to articulate the revelation of what you are building and the outcomes you are envisioning. The currency of leadership is trust, which is the fruit of clear articulation and expectation management.
— Build a team. As with any blueprint, you may be the best general contractor, but you are not necessarily the best plumber or electrician. You need others to help you fulfill the vision. You must cultivate the alignment and assignment of each team member to achieve the best outcome. Vision "restrains" us to the outcome.
— Build with patience. Rome wasn't built in a day, and throughout Scripture, most promises of God took decades to fulfill. Visionaries tend to want instant results, but we must learn to embrace long-view leadership to achieve lasting impact in everything we are building.
Let God guide you to become the visionary leader He has created you to be.
Join us on this journey at leadersalliance.org.
Editor's Note: This is part of the Kingdom Leadership series. Read more from Michael Brodeur here.
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