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The Importance of Vision

by Joel Comiskey

Winter 2012

by Joel Comiskey

Scripture tells us, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV). Some translations use the word “revelation” (NIV) or “prophesy” (RSV) instead of vision but the idea of “future direction” remains the same. Vision starts with God and is communicated through leaders.

Vision doesn’t spring from the leader’s own human whims and emotions; rather, God communicates His vision to us and even gives us the grace to respond. Bill Beckham writes: “Vision is not something I catch but something that catches me. I do not act upon this vision, it acts upon me….A vision is something working in our lives, not something we are working on” (Second Reformation, p. 223).

On a human level, perhaps vision can be best described by the relationship between the architect and the construction workers. Before the actual construction can begin, there must be a blueprint. This is the lesson that Stephen Covey would have us capture. He refers to vision as the first creation. Covey believes that it is the leader’s primary task to nurture the first creation. Others might put the vision into practice, but leaders birth the vision.

I’ve worked with a lot of pastors and leaders down through the years, and I’ve noticed that visionary leadership plays an essential role to move the church forward and to prevent discouragement in the face of obstacles.

I just returned from Brazil where I taught a conference at an amazing cell church of 3000 cells and 25,000 people. When I first heard the senior pastor speak, I thought to myself, “This guy is a visionary leader.” He clearly communicated with the new church plant the reason why they were gathered, and the exciting future they should pray and work for. Everything he said was soundly based on Scripture. He wasn’t simply pumping up positive thoughts and personal dreams. Rather, he preached biblical reasons for multiplying cell groups that reach lost people for Jesus.

Most churches are smaller and in countries not experiencing the same revival as Brazil. In a smaller church setting with more difficult soil, the lead pastor must encourage members and cell leaders to press on and believe God for miracles. The tendency in such difficult situations is to express doubt and frustration. Visionary leaders, on the other hand, cling to God’s promises and declare them to the people.

What do you personally believe about visionary cell leadership? Are you practicing it?

Joel Comiskey

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Further reading on leadership and related topics: Comiskey's book Myths and Truths of the Cell Church. Buy HEREor call 1888-344-CELL.