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256 pages, Hardcover
First published January 1, 2002
"Romans 12:8 tells those of us who have the gift of leadership that we had better sit up and take notice, we better 'lead with diligence.' Why? Because the church, the bride of Christ, upon which the eternal destiny of the world depends, will flourish or falter on the basis of how we lead. If you're a leader, please reread that sentence and let it sink into your consciousness. Also, please understand that I am not writing about leadership simply to highlight this particular gift. My ultimate concern is not leadership. For me, the bottom line is the Acts 2 church. But I am absolutely convinced that the church will never reach her full redemptive potential until men and women with the leadership gift step up and lead.
People supernaturally gifted to lead must yield themselves fully to God. They must cast powerful biblical, God-honoring visions. They must build effective, loving, and clearly focused teams. They must fire up Christ followers to give their absolute best for God. And they must insist with put bull determination that
the gospel be preached,
the lost be found,
the believers be equipped,
the poor be served,
the lonely be enfolded into community,
and God gets the credit for it all."
"Proverbs 29:18 says, 'where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.' They cant focus, cant reach their goal, cant follow their dream. An older translation says, 'without vision, the people perish.' I've seen it with my own eyes-without vision, people lose the vitality that makes them feel alive.
I'm not saying that the only thing churches need is visionary leadership. When a local church is discouraged or demoralized, it turns to its shepherds, its artists, and its mercy-gifted folks for a fresh wave of encouragement. When the church needs organization and order, it turns to gifted administrators and says, 'do something about this chaos.' When it needs edification it turns to people with the gift of teaching.
But when a church needs a God-honouring, kingdom-advance, heart-thumping vision, it turns to its leaders. That's because God put in the leader's arsenal the potent offensive weapon called vision."
Let me suggest a way to bolster a leader's courage and also build consensus before taking a vision public. First, the leader brings together whoever makes up the senior leadership team of the church: key staff members, lay leaders, elders, deacons, and so on. then he or she says to this group, "our people deserve clarity on the vision God has given us. They need to know what we're about and where we're headed. So let's meet for the next eight Saturday morning and figure out together, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, where God wants us to lead this church.
We'll start by studying Acts 2 and asking God to give us the pictures, ideas, and words that capture his vision for this church. Then when we present it publicly we will be of one heart and one mind, and hopefully, the rest of the congregation will buy in. If some people don't resonate with the vision, we can talk to them one-on-one and give them time to process the potential changes. If after that they decide not to join us, we wil trust that there are other churches where they will feel more at home. but let's come to leadership consensus so we can present the clearest, strongest vision possible."