Visionaries are great leaders. They have the ability to look beyond what is right in front of them and press toward a hopeful future. They also have the giftedness of inviting others to see the impact that is possible when they persevere in their work.
Church planters are visionaries, even if they don’t always see themselves this way. They have surveyed the landscape of their denominations or local church context and have decided to take a risk and accept the challenge of doing something different.
I had the pleasure of speaking at a church-planting conference a few months ago about prioritizing discipleship. I shared how thankful I was to speak with them at the beginning of their church-planting journey while the fire was still burning in their bellies, before they started to settle in to the sometimes-mundane and hard work of leading a congregation. If we aren’t careful and intentional in our leadership, we will drift. We will look up one day and find that we have created one of “those” churches—those that lack vision, the churches we sought to reform in the beginning.
Remaining true to your vision requires a series of continuous and intentional actions. If making disciples who make disciples is the primary vision, then you must intentionally connect with lost people, intentionally pursue initiatives to maximize your kingdom impact and intentionally train and raise up godly leaders across generations.
Kingdom vision is what we pursue together as people of God. It is not just about what works well for my local church or community—it is also about preparing the people in my local congregation and community to share and live in the freedom of the gospel wherever they go. If we truly have a vision for God’s kingdom, then we must think about how we can actively initiate strategic relationships to expand the reach of the church.
The Holy Trinity teaches us much about having a oneness of vision, while exercising different responsibilities in pursuit of God’s mission. The apostle Paul was of this same understanding when he wrote 1 Corinthians 12—the entire body must work harmoniously together, value each other and use their spiritual gifts to ensure that God’s work goes forth.
Church planters can steady the course by acknowledging these three facts: The vision for their local congregation is a part of God’s larger kingdom vision; they do not have to go about this work alone; and they can seek out like-minded kingdom partners to join them on the journey.
I have seen this hope take shape in my current ministry setting when local congregations partner with Christian nonprofits and schools to fill each other’s gaps, share the gospel and meet human needs as they train and raise up visionary leaders who continue to share in the work.
If you want to maximize your kingdom impact, look to God and acknowledge his kingdom vision, then take the risk of sharing the load with other like-minded individuals and organizations.
Natasha Sistrunk Robinson is the visionary founder of Leadership LINKS Inc. and is the author of Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose Through Intentional Discipleship.