This is continuing a series on summaries of chapters 8-9 of J. Oswald Sanders’ work, Spiritual Leadership. Whereas discipline is the foundation of all spiritual leadership, vision becomes implicit in the definition of “leader.” Thus, Sanders’ second essential quality emerges.
“Those who have been most powerfully and permanently influenced their generation have been “seers”–people who have seen more and farther than others–persons of faith, for faith is vision” (p. 55)
Moses, Elisha, Nehemiah all had a vision they called the people who followed them to. In tandem with this is Ed Welch’s definition of a visionary:
“Imaginations are our ability to consider things that don’t presently exist. Sometimes we call it vision. A visionary is one who looks ahead and envisions the trajectory of a church, business, or individual life. A talented visionary is one who can see future possibilities and persuade others of that future. Visionaries are rarely right (at least in the details), tend to be optimistic, and are always confident” (Running Scared, 50).
Notice that the difference between a visionary and a worrier is that the former is optimistic and confident. The latter is pessimistic (for the most part) and not confident. The confidence both of these folks have, or don’t have (as pertains to spiritual leadership), stems from a confidence in God. If God is in control of all things, then I can walk in the good works he has prepared beforehand that I should walk in. If there is doubt that he is in control or that he is good, then I wil doubt and fret and balk when it comes to leading others. Because, is it really going to be good at the end of this tunnel? Sanders’ says,
“Eyes that look are common; eyes that see are rare. . . .People of vision gauge decisisons on the future; the story of the past cannot be rewritten” (p. 57)