Leaders must have a place to lead their followers. Such direction is usually called a pastor’s vision or mission. Whatever the name, church leaders must have a goal, a destination to lead their respective parishioners. So the question is, where do we get this “vision” for ministry? Many of us look to the great leaders of our time, people who are high-profile visionaries who know where to lead. We believe that if their methodologies worked for them, they will work for us in our respective situations. We attend their conferences, buy their books, and even though they warn us not to emulate them, we copy their models exactly. We choose to plagiarize instead of wrestling with God to discover our own vision. When their super-imposed model does not work for our own churches, we become frustrated and discouraged. We forget that our congregations and cultures are unique. Sahuarita, Arizona is much different than Orange County, Chicago or even Seattle. I am not saying that we must always be original in everything we do, but we MUST find the vision that God has for our little slice of the Kingdom.
A few months ago I was at a conference for church planters in Orlando, Florida. The conference featured all of the church planter gurus sharing their best practices on how to grow a church to “millions” of people in just under a year. I remember being overwhelmed listening to the staggering statistics for these really awesome type “A” personality pastors. I even found myself thinking how I could force my “square peg” community into some of these “round hole” ideas. One of these ideas had to work for me. At long last I heard a man named Bill Cornelius speak in one of the breakout sessions. He spoke about wise leadership, and at the end of his talk, he related a story about how the Holy Spirit led him to pray for vision for 100 hours. I was stunned and touched by his challenge. God spoke to my spirit and said very clearly to me, “COPY THAT.” Pray for vision (what a concept).
I spent the next few months praying several hours a day. God truly answered my prayers. As a matter of fact, He gave me very clear directions. I am constantly amazed that when we seek the face of God, He is faithful to speak to us. I know this sounds simplistic. The problem is that most of us do not want to take the time to wait on God. We would rather “borrow” the time someone else has spent with God than to pay the price of spending time with God ourselves. We must get on our knees and wait on God to speak His vision for our people.