As the founder of pastorscoach.com, I have the unique privilege of coaching pastors and leaders around the world. I am continually impressed with the quality of love, passion, sincerity and sacrifice that I see in the lives of these men and women. Yet many of them are living with a low-grade infection of discouragement and disappointment because of unfulfilled vision.
Most have had amazing encounters with God and have been imprinted with a heavenly blueprint of all that God wants to do and yet after many years, the vision remains unfulfilled and unrealized. In almost every case the problem is not a lack of true vision but a lack of missional leadership. Unfortunately, many leaders have created a "false dichotomy" between supernatural vision and strategic mission. I like to think of this dichotomy like a cup of coffee. Presence-centered churches have great coffee but very little cup. On the other hand, program-centered churches have a beautiful cup that has very little coffee. But the Scripture brings these two elements together again and again. We can see this union of the supernatural and super-practical clearly in the life of David.
King David was chosen by God to lead the people of Israel because he was "a man after God's own heart." When we think of King David, we think of a teenager facing down a lion and rescuing a lamb from its mouth. We think of a young man slaying a giant with a stone or a warrior dancing shamelessly before the ark of the covenant. Yet when we think of these stories, we could get the wrong impression and only think of David as an impulsive leader, driven by a momentary challenge or gripped by a supernatural whim. But as we look deeper into the life of David, we see that he was a strategic and measured "missional leader."
David was a master strategist, but he was not a leader who sat on his horse on the top of the mountain watching his troops go off to battle, but he was the one leading the charge. This is why he generated legendary loyalty in the heart of his followers. David was able to combine the supernatural and the strategic and translate them into ongoing victories. When Israel was attacked by the Philistines, David went to prayer. In this moment, God gave him a strategy. He implemented the strategy and defeated the enemy. Then the Philistines regrouped and renewed their attack. God gave David a different strategy from the first, and they were victorious again. (See 1 Chron. 14:8-17.)
Probably the greatest example of David's missional leadership is seen in his later years as he prepared for the building of the temple. David originally wanted to build the temple himself, but God made it clear that Solomon should be the builder. So David changed his role from builder to planner. This plan began with a glorious vision, but it didn't stop there: David began to assemble all the pieces and people to prepare for the vision to be fulfilled. (See 1 Chron. 22.)
Visionary leadership is essential for God's kingdom to advance, but unless we become missional leaders, we will fail to produce the outcomes that God desires. So how do we move from vision to mission? Here are three keys we can draw from the life of David.
— Aligning the vision. David submitted his original vision to build the Temple, back to the Lord and was told that he was not to be the builder. This initiated a succession plan that was essential for God's purposes to be fulfilled. David was obedient to the heavenly vision.
— Defining the plan. David wrote down the plan (1 Chron. 28:19), taking time to anticipate every need. He specified the amount of wood, stone, gold and so forth that would be needed. He was also specific in articulating the different roles and responsibilities that would be needed.
— Assigning the team. David assembled the necessary resources and people to carry out the plan. David assigned leadership to Solomon as his successor and appointed priests, musicians, soldiers and more to carry out the plan and achieve the outcome.
God is calling you to be a missional leader who knows how to turn vision into reality, so His kingdom will come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
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