Good leadership begins with a vision.
According to Christian Author, Jodi Detrick, the word “completion” is directly related to the future — “an unfinished now.” Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, president of the University of Notre Dame, further suggests that the very essence of leadership is visionary — “[The] vision [must be one] you can articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion.” A good leader lays down the groundwork for the vision to be achieved in its right time. Jesus Christ Himself has shared and directed the vision for all of us while sending the Holy Spirit along to help us achieve it.
In Mathew 9: 35-38, Jesus communicated His vision about the Harvest: What He was doing about it, and then what He needed the disciples to do. In addition to this, Jesus identified the key elements of visionary leadership for His followers, with the focus being foremost on the vision and the honourable sacrifices that one must undergo in pursuit of it.
Additionally, Christ example’s of visionary leadership is one that is practical and prophetic. By appropriately maximizing the resources and tools on hand, the leader demonstrates that he understands the importance of others around him as well as the importance of Christ in one’s life.
Visionary leadership stands out among all types, because of the exemplary characteristics it reveals:
- Visionary leaders are Authentic (John 8:12)
- Visionary leaders are Accountable (Mark 8:29)
- Visionary leaders are Anointed (Luke 4:18)
- Visionary leaders are Affirming (John 14:12)
- Visionary leaders are Accredited (John 6:38)
In contrast, Proverbs 29:18 tells us that when “there is no vision, the people perish.”
So now the question remains: Why the vision? In both the spiritual and secular world, the vision tells us where we are headed, helps us overcome obstacles and motivates us to keep going. It also provides focus and gives meaning and purpose to what we do. Specifically, in the Adventist World, the modern vision that fuels visionary leadership is the new identity put forward for young leaders today.
In his opening presentation at the 10th Global Leadership Summit in Kiev, Ukraine, General Conference President, Ted N.C. Wilson, spoke about the need for spiritual leadership to be cultivated for youth who serve in church positions today: “[We] must be proactive in helping younger leaders grow into that leadership,” he said. “They need to feel a huge burden for the vision of the identity of the Advent movement regarding who we are, why are we here, and where are we going.”
Further, Wilson said younger leaders needed to be involved in service and mission outreach, as well as actively work to promote “the unique prophetic message given to the Adventist Church.” We are to lift up Christ, His Word and His righteousness to a fallen world. We are to powerfully speak about His saving power in the great controversy and delineate His last-day mission of love on earth and ultimately, His Second Coming.
The “unfinished now” has been clearly stated for our Adventist youth and is one that needs to be finished now. By establishing the unfinished now, we are supporting our youth in fulfilling the vision of Jesus Christ our Lord: “With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world!” (Ellen White, Education)