Making decisions that draw the future into the present
As leaders ponder their vision and prayerfully dwell in the future, they must make decisions that will result in letting go of things that were previously important. You must discern what is no longer relevant and put it to death. This can be very costly. Who would have thought that God would require us to put the 28,000-attended Stoneleigh Bible Week to death? For a thing to be dead simply means that God does not want it any more.
Give space to creative thinkers. If you box in creative people you will do harm to their intuitive gift; but if you have the loyalty of creative thinkers in your ranks, give them room to move in their gift and thereby benefit from the fresh vision and the prophetic insight that they can bring. Revolutionary ideas can frighten other people, but as leaders you should prize those gifted with true prophetic insight, especially if they have the flair to bring breakthrough. Leaders should protect creative people from administrative norms that can easily crush them. True breakthrough is rarely the result of consensus and committee, so treasure and encourage, rather than frustrate and formalise, the genuinely gifted innovator.
Keep restating the vision
Do not suppose that because you have already told them your vision once everybody has fully embraced it. Keep restating your vision in terms that people can fully understand and identify with. Give people time to make the vision their own. Help them to see why you are so excited about it and why you believe in it.
Followers determine how successful leaders will be
The reality is that those who follow do most of the work. They are all volunteers and they bring integrity to your dream. Without followers who actually bring your vision into being there will be no fulfilment. Much of your gifts of leadership, therefore, are to be used in serving those who follow you. Practically everything you accomplish happens through confident, loving teamwork.
In a time of transition your relationships are of crucial importance. Do the people that you serve really love and trust you? Do they know that you are for them, you believe in them, you thank God for them, and you will give grace to them?
Also, your leadership will inspire and motivate your people. Do not simply give out information about change but stir motivation. The people of God need to own what God wants to do. Deep in their hearts they want to fulfil the purpose of God. God gives the gift of leadership to motivate people into forward movement. Without motivational gifts the people can grow cold or weary. The spiritual gift of stimulating the faith of others is wonderful!
People want to know if they can fulfil their own heart’s desires by following you. They want to fulfil their personal destiny; your gifts of leadership can enable them.
When exhorting people to take fresh steps of faith into unknown territory the gift of leadership exhortation is of huge importance. This must not be confused with trying to bully unwilling people, but rather motivating through grace and vision.
Take time and be clear
At times of major transition it is important to communicate clearly why you want the church to take certain action. For instance, God may have spoken to you through prophecy and answered prayer, and developments may have already taken place which the leadership now needs to communicate to the flock. It is important that you make clear to the people what is solid fact, what is risk, what is faith, what is sacrifice. It is important to invite questions and not create an ethos that makes people afraid of questioning the leadership. Beware of creating a context where questions are clearly unwelcome and are regarded by leaders as signs of lack of submission.
As you move through a season of transition keep information flowing. Give progress reports and any redefinition of the detail of the vision.
[To be concluded…]