Most of what you have been told about vision for ministry is probably wrong
You’ve been to workshops and conferences. You’ve read the books, but something sounds a little bit off to you. You understand the importance of vision for leading people and organizations, but you’re unsure about how to develop your ability to exercise vision around kingdom matters.
The visionary leaders you can know may feel unapproachable to you. If you have asked someone to mentor you in kingdom visioning, you probably discovered that they didn’t know how to teach you. It’s partially the “curse of knowledge.” This means the highest level visionaries tend to have no offspring.
You’d like to grow in your ability to think and lead with vision, but you don’t know where to turn. If it helps, you’re not the only one who feels this way.
So we did some research
We interviewed 25 proven visionaries to delve into their experience in having a vision come to them, how it unfolded, and what they learned from the experience. The list of potential candidates was generated by the staff of Leadership Network and Christianity Today. We could not get to some of them, but the ones we were able to interview were eager to share their experience. The interviews were transcribed and analyzed by a panel of proven visionary thinkers. We stumbled into intriguing insights that made us rethink everything we thought we knew about leading with vision. For example:
This was not just leaders exhibiting a deep humility. Many of them were precise in explaining that the vision did not originate with them. They described it as something happening through them instead. Most of them saw their original vision grow beyond what they could ever humanly imagine. Their initial vision often led to impressive movements.
Kingdom vision is qualitatively different than natural vision
You cannot take what is written in a book about having vision in business or life and extrapolate the same principles to kingdom vision. There are many tight parallels to be sure. But natural vision originates in our minds while kingdom vision originates in the mind of God. Let’s be honest, this finding is controversial. It’s not that natural vision deals with secular matters and kingdom vision with the sacred, it’s that kingdom vision emerges in a different way.
Merely “thinking big” is not what kingdom visionaries do
Many of the visionaries warned against leading by “adding a zero” to the end of any target number. In fact, kingdom vision rarely starts out as big thinking. It is birthed in an inner disturbance of the soul or from a personal burden for something that is not right in the world. Kingdom vision often starts small and private.
A clear majority of the visionaries we interviewed said their kingdom vision happened in community. Somebody had the seed of a vision. The team engaged in deep dialogue about it, then a kingdom vision began to emerge. Even those leaders who prefer to go to God in prayer alone for vision take their ideas to a carefully selected group of advisers who help them shape the new vision. It turns out that kingdom visioning is a team sport.
Kingdom vision requires tenacious leaders ready to lose control
This is a paradox. When you first start feeling a kingdom vision forming within you, all too often people will laugh out loud when you share it. Leaders have to be tenacious. But other team members and leaders have other pieces of the kingdom vision God is implanting in us. If you try to control it you can kill it. In fact, kingdom vision often goes “out of control” because God is orchestrating it.
Nehemiah did not think to himself, “I’m tired of being a bar tender for Artaxerxes. I want to do something great for God. I wonder where in the vast Medo-Persian Empire I should go. I’m going to take some time to create a vision for the future.”
Instead, his kingdom vision began upon hearing the bad news of the walls of Jerusalem in ruins and the city in disgrace. Similarly, our vision often begins with an injustice in the world or a deep burden for making something right. Often the vision finds us, we don’t find the vision. Nehemiah immediately went to God in prayer and spent lots of time praying about the situation. He did not pray for God to bless his vision, but he prayed before and during the process of thinking through what must be done. He worked out a detailed plan before he mentioned anything to the King. When he did ask, he was able to present his vision and strategy together, a key principle emerging from our research. He waited months for the right moment, not rushing ahead of God. We too have to pay attention to timing as we think about and communicate kingdom vision. When he did speak with the King, he was terrified. Kingdom vision often takes us out of our comfort zone: making a big ask, going somewhere we’ve never been before, being placed in a position of significant leadership.
You can read more in Nehemiah 1:1-2:20. Serving as a wine steward, Nehemiah probably did not consider himself to be a visionary leader. He was probably living quite comfortably serving in the palace and felt no need to think big in his life. But the terrible news from Jerusalem stirred up something inside of him. Though he did not realize it, he was an emerging visionary.
and we were wondering
Are you an emerging visionary?
There is a critical need for developing the next generation of visionary leaders. Most ministry organizations do not have enough visionary leaders in their leadership pipeline. Many denominations lack truly visionary leaders. Perhaps you are a part of the solution to this critical need.
Probably, nobody has ever taught you how to lead with vision or explained how kingdom visioning actually works. There are a lot of young leaders having a similar experience. They are not given enough leadership challenges early on, then expected to lead with vision when they are older.
In response to this need, we created the Institute for Missional Visioning to offer a developmental experience where young leaders who are emerging visionaries could meet over a period of time, have access to kingdom visionaries, and receive direct instruction on seeing with vision.
“If millions of new visionary leaders are needed in twenty-first-century organizations, then leaving their development to the random processes of self-selection and self-development in a society awash with other temptations and distractions for young people certainly will lead to serious gaps in leadership, as already seems to be the case. Isn’t there a better way? If we got serious about producing a larger number of effective visionary leaders, what could be done?”
Burt Nanus, Visionary Leadership, pages 181-182
here is more about
Our process for developing emerging visionary thinkers is comprised of four workshops over the course of two years. Each cohort of participants remains together meeting every six months. Through this unique experience, you will:
- Be exposed to the newest research on kingdom vision
- Broaden your thinking by expanding your network of visionary thinkers
- Benefit from the positive peer pressure of small cohorts that study together
- See what is possible through exposure to successful visionary leaders
- Increase your vision capacity with practical skills and tools
- Spend time in personal visioning in an inspiring environment
- Receive personal coaching from experienced visionary thinkers
Imagine stepping away from your daily work and spending time with other visionary leaders to focus on clarifying God’s vision for you and your organization.
get to know your
Norb has invested his life in developing leaders for ministry and has led with kingdom vision as a pastor.Read More
Andrew is nationally-recognized as an innovator and entrepreneur in K-12 education.Read More
Jim has over 20 years experience in releasing the potential of leaders and organizations.Read More
Scott's vision for the world led him to move to China where he now leads an international organization to develop leaders.Read More
we are currently preparing to form the
Watch here for more information about our next cohort for educators.
Please mail your check to:
2311 Caper Tree Drive
Tustin, CA 92780
Gain clarity about kingdom vision
Increase your desire to lead with godly vision
Grow in understanding of the visioning process
Plan for continued personal growth in godly visioning
Specifically designed for leaders who want to get a jump on the future
Here are testimonies from graduates of an earlier iteration of the experience:
Adam Kirsch: Vision is absolutely essential to leadership. Yet, so many leaders don’t understand the development, alignment, articulation, and execution of visioning. As a young leader, the lessons and opportunity to craft a God-driven vision under the mentorship of proven visionary leaders in the Ten Talents program has been invaluable in my personal and professional development.
Scott Fogo: Has God called you to lead? If so, the 10 Talent program provides a multi-year experience that will transform you into a visionary leader. As a past participant, I can say that the program fundamental altered the way I approach leadership and think about the future.
This leadership development experience is offered by the Institute for Missional Visioning. For more detail, see the information below. You will be able to ask questions by email and indicate your level of interest there. But act soon. This visioning development experience will be strictly limited to 35 participants.
We will soon be accepting registrations for this offering. For more information, call or email
just a little bit
- We believe that God works through leaders
- We believe that significant leadership is powered by vision
- We believe that the world needs more visionary leaders who can grow things
- We believe that vision can be taught and learned
- We believe that emerging visionary leaders can be nurtured and formed
- We believe that vision best crystalizes in community
get in touch