Healthy Leaders


Leaders See the Vision (from Leading)

Malcolm WebberMalcolm Webber

Good Christian leaders go for God’s highest! They challenge the status quo. They pray and search for new opportunities.

God created the universe – there is nothing too hard for Him!

Ah, Sovereign LORD, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You. (Jeremiah 32:17)

Whatever great things God has done in the past, there is still more!

Good leaders are pioneers. They continually search for new opportunities to do what has never before been done. They are not content merely to maintain the status quo. Peter Drucker said, “Results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems. All one can hope to get by solving problems is to restore normalcy.” Neither do leaders wait for circumstances to lead them in change, but they are initiators of change. They are not thermometers but thermostats! They do not follow where the path may lead; they go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

Furthermore, they desire significant change. They seek God’s face for His best. They want to turn around a dying church or failing business, or start up some new radical ministry or entrepreneurial venture, or revolutionize an existing process. They want to mobilize others in the face of strong inertia or resistance. They may not change the world, but they passionately pursue making a significant difference. 

Moreover, leaders see the great potential that God has placed in their constituents – their gifts, talents and callings. Everywhere they look, leaders see divine opportunities and potentials.

Consider these visionary statements from Jesus and other New Testament leaders:

… that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are One: (John 17:21-22)

And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:16-19, see also Eph. 4:12-15, 1 Pet. 2:9, and 1 John 1:3)

Certainly these are all prophetic and doctrinal statements – as people usually interpret them – but they are primarily statements of vision! God is the ultimate Visionary! He is the ultimate Change Agent! This is why the Scriptures are filled with leadership vision from start to finish.

… the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. (Romans 4:17)

Thus, leaders are not content merely to scrape through. Leaders want to transform; they are not content merely to maintain. This is one of the primary differences between leaders and spiritual managers. Leaders lead. They go first. They begin the quest for a new order. They plunge into new, sometimes dangerous, and always unpredictable territory. They take us to places we’ve never been before, and probably could never find on our own. Managers, on the other hand, maintain the existing order. They organize, and establish necessary processes and controls.

When a leader begins to seek new opportunities, he will, many times, not yet have a clear vision of what the future could be. That will come later. At first, he will usually have a sense of challenge and opportunity with an accompanying excitement and energy, but he may not be able to precisely define it. He will likely see some of the broad strategic details, but certainly not all of the technical details. Therefore, he must be comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity, and be able to define and redefine as things move ahead.  This is why managers often accuse leaders of “flying by the seat of their pants”!

Moreover, the leader’s vision will generally evolve in interaction with the people as well as the external context of the organization. Good visions are dynamic; they will change – and the new vision is usually better than the previous one!

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