One of the qualities of leadership is vision. Leaders are men and women with vision. We develop this vision through four kinds of "sight."
The first key is INSIGHT. Insight looks within. This is the starting point for developing a vision for the church, to discern the gifts God has given us, and to develop a plan by which those gifts can be used.
Stephen Covey, in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, suggests that every person develop a personal mission statement. Why a personal mission statement? Because, before we can lead someone else, we need to know where we are going. Our conviction about who we are and what we want to do is the beginning point of developing a vision for the church that we can buy in to and communicate to others.
The second key is HINDSIGHT. Hindsight looks back. This step is crucial in understanding how the church got to where it is. Hindsight enables us to identify the sacred cows of the congregation. Hindsight enables us to evaluate the ministries that have been successful and those that have failed. Understanding where the people came from is the key in determining where they need to go.
The third key is FORESIGHT. Foresight looks forward. It is possible for a leader to become either so enamored with what the church has done or so discouraged by what the church has not done that he stands paralyzed before the future. It is also possible for a leader to be so uninformed about the future that he leads the church down the wrong pathway. Leaders who move their church toward a vision are individuals who are aware of what the future holds.
No one, of course, has an infallible understanding of the future. For example, in 1943, Thomas J. Watson, chairman of the board of IBM said, "I think there is a world market for about five computers." Despite our inability to see the future with inerrant foresight, it is nevertheless vital that we have some understanding of what the future holds.
A wealth of resource material is available to help us to be informed about the future. To develop a vision for our church for the days ahead we need to be informed about the future.
The fourth key is DIVINE SIGHT. Divine sight looks up. Divine sight puts us in touch with God and enables us to discern his plan. Jonathan Edwards demonstrated this when he prayed, "Oh God, stamp eternity on my eyeballs!"
A vision that is nothing more than a projection of our desires, a vision that is nothing more than an extension of our understanding, a vision that is nothing more than a consequence of our expectations is not a vision big enough for the church. The church is not ours to shape and mold. The church belongs to Christ. We are simply instruments in his hand to fulfill his plan. That's why a vision worthy of the people of God will only come in response to this prayer, "Oh God, stamp eternity on my eyeballs."
Vision comes to those who have the right kind of sight!