I’m still a big proponent of clear vision in churches. A clear vision leads to a unified effort, which results in ministry impact. A clear vision also provides great freedom and empowerment for people to be who God created them to be. I’ve heard it described as freedom within a framework. That’s essentially a picture of the Christian faith. There’s actually more freedom for us if we stay within God’s designed framework. Leaders who empower the people around them believe:
• It’s less about the leader and more about the God-ordained vision.
• It’s less about the leader and more about those being led.
• It’s less about the leader and more about synergy of the body.
Paul described the responsibility of leaders in the church this way:
Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
Ephesians 4:12–13 nlt
That’s what I mean about leadership being less about the leader and more about those being led. Our role as leaders is to “equip God’s people to do his work.” The leader doesn’t do the work—God’s people do His work. God’s people don’t do the leader’s work—they do God’s work. We see this reflected in Paul’s writings on spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 as well. Each believer is given one or more gifts. Paul uses the human body as a metaphor to express how the various parts of the body of Christ are indispensable. In other words, we church leaders have failed if we have not embraced the unique gift-mix that God designed. And, we won’t fully know the power and impact of the local church until people are empowered to be who God wired them to be.
We as church leaders don’t tell people what to do to accomplish the vision. Instead, we help people discover their spiritual giftedness and free them to use these gifts to fulfil the vision. It’s not delegation, because with delegation I’m still responsible. It’s empowerment. Someone else is responsible, but as a leader I still hold them accountable.
In the Old Testament, we see this play out when Jethro tells his son-in-law Moses:
Select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.
Exodus 18:21 nlt
In the New Testament, we see this demonstrated when Paul instructs Timothy:
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
2 Timothy 2:2 nlt