What do you think of when you hear the word “vision”?
Maybe you think about your eyesight? A mystical message from God? As a Christian leader you likely quickly begin to think about the future. Questions come to mind like: Where are you heading and leading? What God’s preferred future for His people or this organization? How can you creatively cast the vision? Where will the resources come from? What or who needs to be re-aligned to accomplish the vision?
All these thoughts are important. But, there’s a missing piece… a really important missing piece. Evelyn Underhill called it the most important thing. In addressing a gathering of teachers in 1927, she said, “the most important thing for you is your vision, your sense of God. The richer deeper wider your vision of the Divine Reality, the more rich, real, deeper and fruitful your work will be.”
In other words, vision isn’t primarily about the future and how we get to where God is calling us or leading our organization. The most important aspect of our vision is how we see God. A.W. Tozer opens his classic book, The Knowledge of the Holy by stating, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” It’s so important because what we think about God directly impacts and influences how we think, live and lead.
During their first residency, we ask participants in the Arrow Leadership Program to take a blank piece of paper and draw an image that first comes to mind when they think about God. In many ways, it’s an impossible task. But, it is also a very revealing assignment. Was it easy or difficult? Is the image clear and true or distorted and false? We then explore together, how what we think about God, impacts our thoughts, lives and leadership – sometimes very directly and sometimes very subtly.
In looking ahead to this new year, we are all thinking about possibilities and priorities. Is seeking to grow your vision of God one of your priorities? What difference would it make if you had a bigger, fuller, clearer vision of God?
Tozer argued that it can make a huge difference. In reflecting on the Church, he wrote, “To regain her lost power, the Church must see heaven opened and have a transforming vision of God.” That quote should stir every Christian leader to ask, “Do I have a transforming vision of God? Am I sharing it with others?”
When your co-workers or congregants say goodbye to you one day, one of the greatest compliments you can receive is this one: “You’ve helped me develop a bigger, clearer and fuller vision of God.”
May 2014 be a year where our vision – our vision of God – grows bigger, clearer and fuller. May it transform us and many others!
To The Point,
Dr. Steve Brown