Leadership Development Segment
Understanding Vision and Leadership
By Sean Mungin
Being a leader and the topic of leadership development has become the new ‘hot topic’ over the past couple of decades within almost every sector of society. CEOs and top executives have led the charge in nurturing the gifts of their talented employee pool and have met with great success. In consideration of the seemingly widening chasm between the secular and spiritual arenas, some churches have embraced the need for leadership development, while others have not. Those who have not fail to understand that ‘leadership development’ is not a concept that originated within the secular culture, but is and has always been a Biblical concept whose intricate principles are theocratic in nature (Gen. 2:15-20).
In the beginning, at creation, God created man and gave him the responsibility of maintaining the Garden of Eden. Eventually, the man’s responsibilities were expanded to include the task of providing the rest of creation with their own personal nomenclature to distinguish them from the rest of creation. How did it all begin? It began with a vision. God’s vision for the government of His creation.
After God suspended His creative activity, He set in motion an action plan that would be aligned with His purposes in creating the creation. In Genesis 1:27-30, God provided Adam with a glimpse of His vision for creation and gave him the responsibility of ensuring that His vision was brought to fruition. In Genesis 2:19-20, we read about Adam engaging in the process of fulfilling the vision. The Bible teaches us in Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Had God not initiated the process by providing Adam with the instruction and the tools he needed to bring the vision to fruition, Adam would not have been able to fulfill that portion of his purpose for being.
Likewise, when leaders fail to provide those who have submitted to their leadership with the proper and adequate tools to ensure their success, they are, in essence, setting them up for failure. The United States Army has two familiar sayings: 1) “Prior planning prevents poor performance.” and 2) “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” When the actions of leaders communicate their disinterest in preparing their followers, they are also communicating that they have no vision with which to ensure the survival of the organization after they have long gone. This is antithetical behavior to that which was taught by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:11-16. To sum up what Paul was saying, without leadership development and without a vision, we will not have any direction nor will we know which way will lead to forward progression. When this occurs, it leaves an opportunity for people to function according to their own devices, which can become a recipe for disaster.
George Barna (2003) describes four things that need to be considered at this point: 1) Does your leader know and understand the vision that God has for His people?, 2) Do you know and understand the vision that God has for you?, 3) Are there any institutions within proximity that are capable of reinforcing the vision God has given you?, and 4) Does the local leadership within your congregation lead by the tenets of the vision statement? (pp. 9-10).
In many areas, the church is falling behind and leadership development is one of them. If we are to become successful in advancing the Kingdom of God here on earth, then we must realize that we have been called to become mature and to assist other with their maturation process as well. This includes providing them with a well formulated and clearly articulated vision statement which describes the end to which they are going to be working. The people must also be provided with the tools that will help them to maximize their potential. By helping the people to tap into their optimal level of potential, leaders are also providing them with the opportunity to determine where in the organization they will be empowered and enabled to best serve. But it all begins with developing leaders who have an understanding of the overall vision that God has set in place.
Barna, G. (2003). The Power of Vision. Ventura: Regal Books.