Christ-like leaders follow Jesus’ words, attitudes, and actions in casting a vision for where their church body goes as well as goals to get there. We start with Jesus’ broad intent for life in Him. He said,
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (Jn. 10:10)
When we view our responsibilities as leaders through the lens of the basics of life in Christ, certainly any vision and goals we set should be guided by and reflecting of this potential of an abundant, full life in Christ.
Potential Flows from a Christ-like Intent in Vision & Goal-Setting
The original Greek word in John 10:10, perissos, goes beyond the English concept of “full” in the sense of having what we need in order to be complete. The word signifies having more than what we need, an abundance, or overflow. That’s the potential toward which our vision should aim. And, goals we set should also align with His intent.
Peril Comes from Anything Less than His Intent
When we settle for less than what Jesus came to give us by following our own ideas or the way of the world, we put our churches in harm’s way. Only by following the Good Shepherd will we find the protection we need. — “The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.” (Jn. 10:12-13)
When our church vision and goals fail to align with this Christ-like intent, we lose that life-giving effect, and experience the first part of John 10:10. The exceeding abundance He came to give gets stolen. If we stay that course, we’ll not only fail to reach our potential but could see decline and maybe eventually self-destruct.
Christ-like Intent Requires Christ-like Pursuit
Jesus’ intent for life in Him should govern how we pursue vision and goal-setting.
- We will go to great measures to ensure we hear the right voice, His voice, by first spending sufficient time in prayer and His Word. Those who know the Good Shepherd, “will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (Jn. 10:2) We will not be conformed “to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind … able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Rom. 12:2).
- We will wait for the leading of the Good Shepherd before moving on a vision and setting goals for “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (Jn. 10:2-5).
- We will pursue a big enough vision, not one limited solely by what we see. We give room for God “to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20) as we seek to live within the full, abundant life Jesus came to give.
- We will set goals specific enough to measure their alignment with the vision but broad enough to give people freedom in accomplishing them. We will not put people in straight jackets, stifling all their initiative or creativity in following the voice of the Good Shepherd.
The next post will include more about a Christ-like pursuit of vision and goals. You can subscribe to receive e-mail notice of new posts so you don’t miss it.