Friday, October 5, 2012

What is a Visionary and when should I eat that Pie in the Sky?

I love thinking about the future. My wife asks, 'What are we having for dinner?' I reply in a daze... 'Hmm... In ten years time I wonder whether curried sausages will still be popular?' She then rolls her eyes and says something like, 'Can you just focus on the here and now for a minute!'

Some people disregard visionaries, because they always have their head in the clouds, looking for a pie to eat. Surely visionaries can be more than just dreamers?

Let's looks at what encapsulates the essence of visionary people.

What is a visionary?

When I speak of someone who is a visionary, I do not have a picture of some naive person living on cloud nine, hoping the world will change. When I think of a visionary, I think of someone who is wanting to transform the present, because they have a picture of the future. A pragmatic visionary is what I advocate for; not some dreamer who lays around all day who is no earthly good! Someone who merely dreams dreams, is a dreamer. A visionary by definition should encapsulate working towards the fulfilment of a vision, so as to set it apart from a dreamer.

A visionary leader is someone who can gather people together to fulfil a particular cause that impacts the future. They help lead people towards a preferable future.

Are we all called to be visionaries?

That's an interesting question. I think we are all called to see an alternative future and work towards it; maybe that's a healthier body, a more cohesive family, etc. If we consider personality profiling, some simply lean towards a visionary nature, while others are administrative junkies, while other personalities are focused on the 'here and now'. My consensus then is that not all are called to be visionaries, but all are called to attempt to understand visionaries and live in a way that seeks to build and grow a better future.

If you are a follower of Jesus, the Spirit of God has inherently woven in you a passion for witnessing the future extension of his kingdom in this world and the life to come. A Christian surely cannot help but have vision of some expression of this kingdom, even though they may not be called to be visionary leaders. A Christian to some degree then should be a visionary.

Leaders as Visionary Leaders

Consider the story of Nehemiah. Nehemiah heard about the walls of his home town Jerusalem had been burned down. Nehemiah prayed and fasted and realised he was to go to Jerusalem, rally the people together and rebuild the walls. Now Nehemiah was a visionary leader. Let me explain why I make that assertion. Half way through taking on this mammoth building project, opposition ramps up, and in fact his own people begin whingeing. (For more on leadership from Nehemiah click here) What does Nehemiah do? He continues to follow through with the vision laid on his heart, and continues to rally the troops to rebuild the walls. He was a visionary leader. He worked hard on the ground, no doubt, but he never lost sight of what he was trying to achieve. The vision drove him to work. The vision inspired him and the people around him to continue to build the walls.

So, are you a visionary?

If you are or desire to be, then pray this with me:

Lord, we pray that we would capture your preferred future for our church, our family, our workplace, our city and our nation. Let the vision drive us to action. Let our passion for redemptive ministry, allow us to overcome any stumbling blocks that seek to hinder our progress. Will you stir in us the presence of the Holy Spirit, that ignites visionary qualities within us, that in turn equips us to lead others to faith and active ministry? Help us have the tenacity of Nehemiah, and the conviction of purpose that he had, in order to fulfil the vision you place on our heart. In Jesus' name we pray! Amen!

If you are a visionary, or your personality leans you that way, then FAN into FLAME the capacity to capture vision, to communicate it and work on achieving it.

God bless.

~ Pete.

--> MORE on Visionary Leadership Here.


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