I recently wrote a post for Creator about standing up for your church vision . In a comment, Wallace Horton talked about the reality of ministry and his own experience of being in the “second chair.”
I replied to his comment this way: “The flip side of this article is that people with a vision can get out of touch with reality and get grandiose about the vision – and impatient with those who don’t get it, including the senior pastor if they are in the second chair. It’s an art not a science. Personal and spiritual maturity are critical.”
Pursue your ministry vision – yet be realistic
So I’ve been thinking about this further. Of course, persistence is essential when pursuing a ministry vision. And yet…we’ve all seen leaders who were rigid and uncompromising, or moved too fast. They torpedoed their own vision by their inability to be patient, to adapt to the realities they faced, or to cultivate relationships with the people who opposed them.
Here are six ways to temper your vision for your church with realism:
- Take a look at the history of your church or ministry to see how new initiatives have taken root. Get curious.
- Talk with key leaders about what they value about the church, without trying to convince them your vision is the right way.
- Think about your own bottom line for the ministry – what can you live with?
- Double your timeline, and embrace the longer perspective.
- If you are a “second chair” ministry staff leader, stay connected to the pastor, even if you disagree with the pastor’s approach or don’t feel like you are getting the support you want for your own vision.
- Reread the story of Moses. Take a look at his beard in Michelangelo’s sculpture. It took some time to grow that long! They got there eventually, but it took 40 years.
What are some other ways you can increase your patience while still holding onto the vision?
And here’s another post on the relationship between your vision for your church and reality.