When I met with the Biblical Recorder’s Editor Search Committee for my first candidate interview in March 2011, one on the committee asked me this question, “What is your vision for the Biblical Recorder?” I quickly responded, “I don’t have one.”
That reply might seem to be a killer for the discussion. It certainly produced curious stares from the committee. But I added, “I don’t believe God gives someone a vision for a ministry without first giving him the assignment. I have a lot of ideas about the Biblical Recorder’s future, but unless God gives me the assignment to lead the Biblical Recorder, I do not expect to have a vision.” I proceeded to share my ideas for leading the Recorder.
I believe there is a big difference between a God-given vision and good ideas.
Everyone has ideas about the direction of their church, denomination or a specific ministry. There is no shortage of ideas. But vision is very different.
When God began preparing Moses to lead the Hebrew people out of 400 years of Egyptian slavery, he did not give Moses His specific vision until he was willing to accept the assignment. There is no doubt that Moses had “ideas.” One of his ideas resulted in the murder of an Egyptian, forcing him to flee the country. Not a good idea!
Herding animals on the back side of Midian was not in Moses’ playbook. The man who was raised in Egyptian royalty, became a penniless fugitive.
Forty years later, after God finished training the future leader, He got Moses’ attention through a burning bush. The reluctant leader had no further ideas of his own. Frankly, he was unsure of God’s plan for deliverance. But when he finally yielded to God’s call, Moses received the fulness of God’s plan. At that point it became his unstoppable vision.
He gripped the vision, and the vision gripped him. God instructed Moses to go inform the elders of Israel that God sent him to deliver the Hebrew people. He did not call for a vote. He simply gave them the vision he had received from God. The rest is history.
When the deliverance from Egypt was complete, the people had “ideas” about how Moses could do his job. As frustrating as it was, he stayed with the vision God gave him.
In the process scripture points out that Moses disobeyed God and the people disobeyed God, rebelling against the leader He gave to the people.
The New Testament letter of Hebrews distinctly condemns the disobedience of the Hebrew people in the wilderness (Hebrews 3:15). Their unbelief was connected to their unwillingness to follow the leadership of Moses. God was not interested in their ideas.
I am not so naive to believe that every leader’s vision is to be blindly followed. In some cases, I am convinced that leaders have not asked God for His direction for a specific church or ministry. Some are trying to live out a vison of their own design. Their folly should be obvious. If not, one day it will be.
But, most pastors have been prepared by God for their assignment and have prayerfully embraced God’s vision for the people they lead.
Most are genuine servants, hard-working and deeply committed to the truth of scripture. They endure unjust criticism and unrealistic expectations. They live sacrificially, they love the people they lead and have a strong desire to glorify God.
Let God bless your life through the vision He has given your leaders. Heed the warning of Hebrews 3:8-9.
Next month is Pastor Appreciation Month. I encourage you to pray for your pastor and find ways to encourage him. If you have other church staff, please bless them, also. Visit here for resources.