In all the spiritual gifts inventories that I have taken over the years, administration consistently comes in high on the list.Â This is one particular spiritual gift that comes easy for me. Those with this gift feel very uneasy in unorganized settings, and immediately begin to see things that can be put in order. While this is a good gift to have if the organization is a mess, it becomes problematic when the organization begins to right itself from collapse.
If volunteers, for example, are organized into various work groups, or scheduled in rotating weeks or months then this works well for a while. If facilities are organized, cleaned, restocked, and order is restored, there is still a very demanding and unspoken next step. Â This next step is the difference between an administrator who holds the title of leader and a true leader who administrates.
The Big Ugly Scary Word
There it is; the one word that makes or breaks a leader. Organized volunteers who serve in clean and organized facilities will only go so far without vision. Once order has been established, it is then time for casting a vision for the future. Without it, the organization crumbles and decays.
People need to see why they are organized in the first place. If they feel that they are simply walking in circles, even an organized circle, whatâ€™s the point?
Vision, with regards to leadership, is the ability to see the future. Itâ€™s like a driver who has the ability to see down the road, even through a thick fog of difficult circumstances, around the bend of time. They see where they are going and tell those following them the way. The leader shares what he sees.
The usual go to passage for vision is Proverbs 29:18 â€œWhere there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.â€ (ESV)
The intent of the passage is to compare the verse that comes before it and those around it, Proverbs 29:17 â€œDiscipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.â€
Without a prophetic message from God (i.e. prophets of old, or His complete Word today), then people slip into sinful chaotic behavior. Godâ€™s Word brings restraint, focus, and redirection. Without it people go into ungodly and worldly behavior. Without discipline children follow their sinful nature and descend into destruction.
Principle: Without one (Godâ€™s Word or parentâ€™s guidance, i.e. leadership) then (unrestraint and unrest, i.e. decay).
Without a constant reminder of why we have childrenâ€™s ministry, youth ministry, church, or any other noble tasks, then people forget, get frustrated, tired, weary,Â and walk away into a disorganized mob seeking their own self interest. The goals and direction of the unit are now no more.
The Second Big Ugly Word
So a Christian leaderâ€™s vision should come from Scripture, then it should be applied in their unique situation. It is then communicated to those organized people.
Rinse and Repeat.
Share the reason as to why you exist, and then tell the people where you are going. Where will this journey take them if they stay on board? While continuing to organize, share the vision again, then do it again.
In his book Visioneering Andy Stanley says regarding Orville and Wilbur Wright, â€œThis childhood experience sparked in the boys an insatiable desire to fly. The only thing they lacked was a means. So they immediately went to work removing the obstacles that stood between them and their dream.â€ In our day of fighter jets, commercial airlines, and world travel, we often forget what a monumental feat this was in itsâ€™ day. Often times having the dream or vision for where we desire to take the organization is not the problem. Many before the Wright brothers had dreamed of flight. But too often many simply give up when they see the obstacles before them.
There it is; the second big ugly word. So you want to win North America for Christ, you want to end hunger in your state, you want to eliminate illiteracy in your neighborhood? How are you going to do it? How are you going to overcome the obstacles of making this happen? This is where many dreams die or many turn their attention to chores of daily life (like the laundry).
This is exactly where we ask God to give us creativity and we take the big initial step to begin something that we are not exactly sure how it will end up. The end result is worth the risk. Donâ€™t get lost in the fog of uncertainty and doubt. Keep going and donâ€™t give up.
Ephesians 6:9 â€œAnd let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.â€ (ESV)
 Andy Stanley, Visioneering (Sisters, Oregon; Multnomah, 1999), 7