Kent is no Moses, and he knows it.

Gifted as a pastor-teacher, he arrived at his mid-sized Midwestern church believing that God had called him to shepherd this congregation. The people were generally supportive. But Kent was staggering under "vision block." The elders were pushing him to "be more of a leader," "give us a vision," and "take charge."

Kent did not fit that model. He had a hard time generating visionary ideas. He had little difficulty, however, discerning whether visionary ideas others espoused were from God. He listened well to the leaders around him—particularly elders and staff—and was able to synthesize component pieces of God's vision for the church as shared by key players. He then put the pieces together and clearly communicated, biblically and sensitively, what God was doing in the congregation.

"Couldn't God speak through the body?" Kent asked.

But that wasn't the leadership model the elders assumed every church needed. And they told him so.

If only I were a Moses

Most of today's leadership literature focuses on the "visionary leader," the one who determines his church's calling and then communicates that vision to the church. The model is Moses' receiving the Ten Commandments: he went up the mountain, heard from God, and came back down the mountain to communicate the vision and challenge people to follow. It's the "Moses as CEO" model.

Americans value the Moses-style leader. This approach is rooted in the rugged individualism that is so much a part of our culture. The frontier spirit has surely spurred growth and creativity, but in our culture, often at the expense of community. Throughout American history—whether homesteaders who left the cities for a new life in the wilderness, or the ...

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Summer 2000: Vision & Direction  | Posted
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