Monday Morning Insights

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    Being the Visionary Pastor

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    I called a special parish board meeting on a snowy January night, rammed the idea down their throats, and demanded a vote right then and there. The vote was split, six to five in favor of getting the computer. There were hard feelings over that vote for years afterward. If I'd waited for the idea to take hold the right way, I wouldn't have hurt the feelings of some people who were very dear to me, and I might have ended up with a better computer than the one I got.

    When I am at the center of my own visions, Jesus isn't leading the church. In long, wandering prayer I struggled with my visions until Jesus was at the center of the vision and I was in the periphery.

    When I present my visions in which my ideas, my work, my experience, my expertise, my gain, my career, and my leadership are front and center, I am well on my way to becoming a religious despot. As P. T. Forsyth says, "The ideal minister is three things at least. He is a prophet, and he is a pastor, but he is just as much a priest. But what he is not is a king."Ever been there? Sometimes it's so easy to lead from our own personal desires rather than doing what God is calling us to do. Sometimes it's relatively innocent... other times can be downright deceiving. Take a few moments this morning to review the vision of ministry that you are communicating to your staff and church... where are you in the picture? Do you find yourself in the center, or in the periphery?

    In “The Art of Pastoring: Ministry Without All the Answers”, David Hansen discusses his thoughts on being the’ visionary pastor’: Every time I tried to make my visions come true, everything fell flat. Much of my pain as a leader came from trying to force my own visions into flesh.  I wanted a computer to help me with my work. I could see a portable computer helping me handle the problems of having two offices and no secretary. I saw the vision, and I became fixed on my vision. I wanted it my way. I knew how the board would handle my vision. They’d ‘mickey mouse’ around with it forever. They’d study it ad nauseam. Of course, their method of mickey-mousing around with things built a beautiful new sanctuary, but I wanted my computer now, and I wanted it my way.

    visionary pastor



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    1. David PAlmer on Mon, September 20, 2004

      You know, in this, I am reminded of the cildren of Israel and the leadership of Moses.   Many times, as Andy Stanley says “the vision isn’t wrong…we don’t change the vision just because a strategy failed”.   Moses stayed true to the vision as best he could while all around , countless times, the majority of the people he was leading were grumbling, complaining, and generally rebelling. He did however change strategically, and continue to direct towards the goal/vision.   Did you ever stop to think that perhaps your desire for a computuer and a specific one at that was a God directed desire…One that had wisdom and understanding associated with it (although maybe not fully realized)? I happen to know that the short term cost associated with the purchase of a laptop is far outweighed by the long term flexibility in work flow for the pastor/leader.  The ability to work anytime, anywhere that inspiration and inclination strikes is a capitalization on our most precious comodity….time. With wireless internet access in most Starbucks these days you can connect to your home church netwrok, send emails, research a topic etc…  Read Andy Stanely’s book “The Next Generation Leader”… Be blessed.

    2. David Palmer on Mon, September 20, 2004

      Sorry about the double post.  Quick PS thought as well.  Leaders are chosen to be in the forefront of the battle for a reason, by God.  You were put in the limelight for a reason.  You have got to trust that call and know that God will use the desires of your heart to fullfill what He has called you to. Yes, we will make mistakes but we should never shy away from the position of leadership.  So many so called “leaders of churches” are leading from fear and concensus instead of faith and vision. It does the body of Christ no good to be in a position of leadership and not actually lead….....can you imagine where Israel would be today if Moses would have listened to that “Comittee” in those uncomfortable instances?  In the animal kingdom the word comittee is used to describe a group of vultures…..just food for thought.

    3. Bob AuBuchon on Tue, September 21, 2004

      I believe with most of us have lost the biblical understanding of what a “pastor” is.  Today most pastoral books are geared to being a CEO, visionary, consultant, facilitator, 5 year planner, and on and on. The scripture calls to “shepherd” the flock. I believe in simplicity that means to be in contact with your sheep (people).  I find that when I am doing the CEO etc. role I have no time for the people.  I am not sure God calls for any of us as pastors to have a vision.  His Word speaks of “where there is no vision” ... but that is not the vision most think of today.  It is better translated “where there is no revelation” ... understanding of God’s Word the people perish.  All the modern boasting of being a visionary is useless if we fail to touch the lives of our people with the Word of God (Bible). I appreciate and do find value in the books written today.  I am currently reading “7 Practices of Effective Ministry.”  It has offered some insights to practical ministry. Maybe the vision we all need is from the Word of God to shepherd and oversee the people God has placed in our stewardship by example. Amen!

    4. Dan Moore on Tue, September 21, 2004

      I remember when the “vision thing” became popular.  I noticed that pastors who were driven to find a “gimmick” to grow the church were writing mission statements and laying out purpose objectives. 

      If I remember correctly, Jesus is the “CEO” or Head pastor.  His vision is given in Acts 1:8.  The Mission statement is in Matthew 28:19-20.  His command or policy statement is John 13:34-35.

      My job description is similar to Peter’s in John 21:15-19.  Feed the lambs, tend the sheep, feed the sheep and follow Him.

      He does leave the orgnaizational details up to the leadership.  This is noted in Acts 6:1-7 when the early church focused on basic ministry, the church grew.  When a need was dtermined for a new ministry:  pray, study, determine action, develop criteria for servants, church appoints and get back to ministry and His mission.


    5. Bishop Moses on Fri, September 24, 2004

      God bless you for this great information.You are doing a great thing helping the pastor.

      My desire is to help equip the pastor to become more effective in their ministries. I have the pastors heart, would you share any more adea that will help me along the way as I attempt to equipping others. I am preparing to hold a pastors conference soon. where most of those pastors have small and strugle congregation.that not even able to have a salary, health insurance, retirement .etc. Please, help me with some resource that i May be able to help them.

      Thank you

      May God for ever bless your ministries.

      Bishop Moise


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