There have always been visionaries, Christian and otherwise. They help the rest of us see new possibilities, invest ourselves in great dreams, and experience new realities. They're committed to moving us on. Always something new, usually something bigger, definitely something that demands more of us than ever before.
Usually, I like them.
Visionaries were there in Bible times (Moses, Nehemiah, and Paul come to mind) and down through the centuries (Benedict, Francis, Tyndale, Carey, and Wilberforce). And they are with us today (you fill in the blanks; I'll keep my favorites to myself). They're ubiquitous.
Visionaries will be relieved to hear that we probably can't get along without them. But someone needs to say (I'm not sure I have the courage) that everything in Christendom isn't about vision, growth, innovation and entrepreneurship.
I consider myself a visionary. Throughout my pastorates, I frequently had to identify, cast, and implement vision. Now that I've reached senior status, perhaps I'm in a position to reflect on a blind spot that afflicts many vision-fueled leaders.
Someone (whoever he/she might be) ought to suggest that visionaries often overlook a core dimension of ministry, something we might call pastoring. That's an old word with deep implications: it means tending sheep.
The word pastor or shepherd applies to those men and women who know people personally, care for them personally, mentor them personally, and love them personally.
Let's not call someone a pastor who is really a CEO, an entrepreneur, or a prophet. Let's honor these capable folk for their enormous gifts in leadership and vision-casting, but let's reserve pastor for the folks who work with the people, walk with them on the streets, and see them in ...