I have been doing a lot of thinking about what it means to lead a community towards having a vision for our community. My big question has been, how can we help people to live lives with great missional purpose. Forst and Hirsch have something very good to say about this idea:
A much more wholesome view of mission and visionary leadership is contained in the idea of the management of meaning. Considered philosophically, all that a great visionary leader does is awaken and harness the dreams and visions of the members of the community and give them deeper coherence by means of a grand vision that ties together all the “little visions” of the members of the group. The fact remains that no one will be prepared to die for my sense of purpose in life. She or he will only die for his or her own sense of purpose. My task as a leader is to so articulate the vision that others are willing to embed their sense of purpose within the common vision of the community. Only if they think that the common vision legitimizes their vision will they be motivated by the leader’s vision….
They make a very powerful point here. It is one thing to give someone my vision (that is bullying in one sense). It is a whole other thing to awake in them a sense of vision for missional living that fits with the way God has gifted them. A simple example, it is quite silly for me to push my wife to having a vision of mission that is primarly based on hanging out with friends at bars and sharing life with them there when her heart is for more social issues. There is really not too much attractive to the first for her. Yes, perhaps it is appropriate for he to do this when the time calls for it. But, more effective and appropriate it would be for me to encouragae her towards and help her develop a vision for ways she can engage the social issues in our area.