Few things are more important to effective leadership than a vision. Good leaders foresee something out there, vague as it might appear from the distance that others do not see. Godly leaders who are followers of Christ must first have a vision of who God is and the future he holds for them. They must also have a sense of what God has called them to do.
What is the focus of your life? Are you a person of passion for the things of God, or is that passion just a sporadic experience for you? If you had to describe the compelling treasure in your life, what would it look like?
It is crucial for a leader to know how to identify and cultivate a personal vision. However, where do such visions originate? Burt Nanus provides us with a good definition of the word vision, and Jesus demonstrates how to keep our vision in line with God’s purposes.
In his book Visionary Leadership, Burt Nanus defines a vision as “a realistic, credible, attractive future for your organization. It is your articulation of a destination toward which your organization should aim, a future that is better, more successful, or more desirable for your organization than is the present.” Nanus contends that the right vision “Is an idea so energizing that it in effect jump-starts the future by calling forth the skills, talents, and resources to make it happen.”
Over the course of his ministry, Jesus consistently cast an energizing vision of the coming kingdom of God. He repeatedly described the character and conduct that would define
citizens of that kingdom. The Lord’s vision was so compelling that the twelve disciples left everything to follow his lead. Thousands of others also took their direction from him.
Yet, in spite of the Lord’s consistent message, the disciples had a hard time grasping the fact that ushering in the kingdom of God would require suffering. When Jesus clearly explained his impending death, Peter rebuked him for making such an assertion. He was probably shocked when the Lord abruptly turned the tables and said, “Get behind me, Satan!” Peter’s problem was that he allowed his personal and self-centered agenda to box in God’s plan. Ultimately, such self-serving visions are satanically inspired.
Leaders need to be sure their vision is consistent with God’s purposes. Moreover, when cross currents threaten to sweep the vision into another channel, they must work to keep it heading in the right direction. They cannot allow self-serving interests—their own or someone else’s—to distort their vision of the future and prevent God’s purposes from being fulfilled.