What Visionary Leaders See
So where do visions come from for a business or ministry?
Visions don’t come from committees, they come to individuals as part of their calling. Since God is our creator he loves to “recreate” through those whose hearts are seeking answers. Some come as dreams, or a profound thought and often as a solution to a problem or obstacle in our pathway. Visions offer a better, or simpler, way of serving people.
The strength of committees or boards is to think logically using their experiences, knowledge and best judgment. Unfortunately, too often they don’t see beyond logic into the future. Many visions can die in the battleground of logic or fear. Sometimes they are preparation for recognizing God’s next vision that will become reality and affect thousands of lives.
God is the giver of visions for his long-term purpose. His visions come in time of humility, searching and openness. There should not be any false gods or idols before us.
Ray Kroc sat in the parking lot that morning in San Bernardino, a humble man who saw a vision that the McDonald’s brothers could not see or were too tired to want to pursue. Their logic had gotten the best of them. The Lord needs visionaries like Ray Kroc, J.C. Penney, Bill Bowerman, Conrad Hilton and James Kraft and millions of others whose hearts are bigger than their heads.
A visionary leader sees beyond the obstacles.
Visionary leaders don't see obstacles as problems...
Visionary leaders don’t see obstacles as problems, but as opportunities that most accountants or legalists can’t envision.
Steve Jobs said: “Staying with the vision is hard and why most people quit. People say you have to a lot of passion for your vision and that is completely true, because it is so hard, any rational person would give up. You have to do it over a sustained period of time, so if you don’t love it you are going to give up. Only the sane quit. You have got to love it to persevere.”
True love comes from the Lord who created you with your calling to help change the world in mind.
Too often, visions come from tragedy. Yet we all die as a sacrifice for the next generation as Christ did.
Candy Lightner’s daughter was killed by a drunken driver in 1980. Candy’s reaction to her broken heart received a vision that changed America forever. She founded Mothers Against Drunken Driving (MADD). Nearly every city and state now has jail time, license suspension programs or tough punishment because of her organization’s campaigns across America. “Designated drivers” are the norm for kids today.
Howard Schultz during a trip to Milan, Italy saw a vision for America when he experienced good friends sharing coffee in neighborhood shops. They were great gathering places filled with friendships, love in action and fellowship. It took him a few years of sacrifice, lost money and doubt by so many, to finally see his Starbucks dream fulfilled.
Visions are spiritual, coming from the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul was obviously one of the greatest men in Christian history. In 2 Corinthians 12:1 he said, “I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord.”
Consider Christian leaders such as Billy Graham with his passion for souls and salvation crusades; Martin Luther King, Jr., and his “I have dream” peaceful marches; Bill and Vonette Bright who reached young students through Campus Crusade for Christ; Millard Fuller whose changed heart led to he and his wife Linda Fuller creating the Habitat for Humanity movement, or Chuck Colson going from shame in the White House to launch Prison Fellowship. All of these leaders set men and women free in Christ through the visions the Lord birthed through them.
We see the importance of vision in our own nation’s founding. It was Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams who could see the vision of a new nation free to follow God’s principles and avoid the mistakes of the kings of European nations. They all had one thing in common; they were willing to give their lives for their dreams.
Throughout history, Christian leaders have been gripped by the Lord with a vision that very few people could see until their followers started to get on board. They did not choose their calling or the vision. It was the Lord gripping their heart. They saw the vision that very few could see. They were obedient to the Lord to risk their lives.
John Beehner is founder of Wise Counsel an ongoing learning process that serves Christian Entrepreneurs and ministry leaders. He will present at Christian Leadership Alliance’s Outcomes conference on his latest book and Resource Guide: The Rock Solid Leadership Blueprint.