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The Prophet Joel said old men would dream dreams. What about old congregations?

"The leader who gets too far in front of his people is often mistaken for the enemy," says Dennis Sawyer, quoting an old adage to describe how he feels about this article, first published in LEADERSHIP's Winter 1984 issue. Obviously, this is a man who wants to see pastors lead the charge without getting shot in the back.

The first readers of this article responded so enthusiastically, we knew we'd have to include it in our series of classics. But after a decade and his move from the Midwest to Seattle, we asked Sawyer if the lessons still proved helpful in sparking a vision.

"No, not helpful," he responded. "I'd say imperative. Serving a different church in a different region has only reinforced what I'd learned, especially the concept that everyone needs to be needed."

Sawyer continued, "Building relationships is more important than vision. It's through relationships that you inspire and encourage. Without relationships nothing happens."

The warmth of the autumn sun through the bedroom window ...

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