Pastor Keith Hodges
Liberty Church, Alabama
One of the most important roles of leadership is vision casting. We all know Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) “Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he.” Without vision our people, and more importantly God’s people, perish. The word perish means “to cast off restraint.” They wandered aimlessly, missing the mark of God’s glory. This is sobering because it reminds us that our ability to cast vision, paint the picture, and create a future reality very much determines our ability to grow our ministries, take our churches to the next level, and–more importantly–to stop wandering and start fulfilling God’s vision for our local church. Vision is the leader’s job!
So, how do we cultivate vision? I believe one of the foundational keys is personal growth. The moment we stop growing spiritually, mentally, educationally, and relationally is the moment we start to lose vision. A stagnant soul causes us to start living out of memory instead of creativity. We do what we have always done when we should be living out of creativity, doing what we have never done. We should imagine new things, new possibilities, and new heights.
As we grow, we see. We see things, opportunities, and ideas we have never seen before. The more I know, the more I see. A simple example is I know many car guys. You love motors, speed, and getting your hands on a wrench. I, on the other hand, am not a car guy. So when I see a muscle car, I see a really cool car; however, you, on the other hand, see power, torque, suspension, and an opportunity to go faster than ever before. What you know determines what you see. The same is true spiritually and in ministry. Cultivating vision for our churches and ministries flows out of our personal growth.
Twenty-nine years ago, I entered the ministry as a young man in a traditional denomination. One of the requirements for pastoral ministry was what they called continuing education. They always wanted their pastor/leaders to be furthering their education. The thing that confused me as a young pastor was they didn’t care what you were studying, as long as you were learning something new. I thought it was crazy. Pastors should study the Bible, ministry, and all things connected to the local church. However, twenty-nine years later, I understand the heart behind continuing education. Once you stop learning, stop growing, stop stretching, you stop cultivating fresh vision. The more I know, the more I see, and the more I am able to see what God is saying in my life and to the local Church. Let’s refuse to wander aimlessly. Let's commit to personal growth and to continue to cultivate fresh vision for God’s people.