The Best Leaders Give Their Vision Away

One of the keys to a successful organization is also one of the riskiest things for a leader to do. 

This is some of the hardest advice for me to give other leaders – and, without practice and discipline – one of the hardest for me to incorporate into my leadership.

Leader, if you want your organization to thrive, you have to be willing to give your vision away to those you lead.

Leaders talk a lot about the importance of sticking with a vision. We know we have to repeat a vision often. The vision is referred to for its value to an organization. Without a vision, the people perish.

Right?

We know all these principles. I agree with all the truths about vision. 

I am actually referring to another principle though, which leaders sometimes overlook. The best leaders allow others to own the vision besides them. Actually they encourage it.

They give their vision away.

The key to incorporating this into your leadership is in surrounding yourself with people you trust enough to take your vision and implement it with their own personal touch. They get to live out their vision in coorperation with yours.

When we planted Grace Community Church I had a vision. It was actually a ten-year old vision. It was a specific vision to reach people far from God, but it was broad. I felt God wanted to have a church, which reached people where they were, not with rules to perform to for approval, but with unconditional love and grace. Through prayer and discernment, I recruited a co-pastor who shared the vision. I recruited a core team who could own the vision, as their own. The co-pastor and I recruited a worship leader who believed in the vision. 

Then step-by-step we began to give away our vision.

Taking the existing vision, which never changed, we had core members who researched and shaped our children’s ministry. Others started our greeting ministry. Still others formed the structure of our preschool. 

In this process, they developed these ministries with their own individual perspectives and desires. The ministries, while accomplishing the overall vision for the church, may or may not have looked like I would have personally planned them. In the end, however, they were far better than I could have ever produced on my own. Our church expanded rapidly, and, of course it was all grace, but looking back, it was also in great part because of those who owned the vision with us.

Leaders often operate out of fear and hold too tightly to their vision, afraid others will ruin their “dream”, but this never allows people to develop. It stifles growth and doesn’t allow the body (or the organization) to perform at its best. Ultimately it keeps the leader’s vision from achieving maximum potential. 

My encouragement to leaders would be to surround yourself with people you trust enough to own your vision and place their own personal touch on it. Your church or organization will be the benefactor of this approach.

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Ron Edmondson

Author Ron Edmondson

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Join the discussion 16 Comments

  • Daniel Green says:

    Great article on vision and the impact it can have within an organization! If a vision is not hard to share with others, maybe it’s not a true vision and representation of our values. Vision has to be a part of who we are, and that is what can make it difficult to share with others. However, the fear of rejection must not immobilize our actions! I believe this is where our faith can lead us on a path that goes beyond what we can accomplish on our own. Now, what if someone runs with the vision that is so deeply seated within our own perspective and goes in a direction that is not congruent with the objective? The larger an organization, the less likely we will have the opportunity to fully trust every member to run with a vision. Should a leader intervene and try to get things back on track or wait and see what the deviation produces?

  • […] Share the load – Even though it is your dream, the best ideas are accomplished when people work together towards a common vision. Don’t be afraid to invite others to help you accomplish your dream as needed. (Read my encouragement to give your vision away HERE.) […]

  • […] Share the load – Even though it is your dream, the best ideas are accomplished when people work together towards a common vision. Don’t be afraid to invite others to help you accomplish your dream as needed. (Read my encouragement to give your vision away HERE.) […]

  • […] Find those who share your passion for reaching the lost and as you share your vision with them….after you’ve prayed together tons…then, if God is in it…form a team…  To be successful you will need buy-in from other people.  You may even need to give your vision away to people you trust.  (Read a post about that thought process HERE.) […]

  • […] For more thoughts on giving your vision away, read THIS. […]

  • […] a similar post on this topic, click HERE. Share […]

  • […] I posted on the need for leaders to be willing to “give their vision away”.  If ultimately what you want is the end goal accomplished, allow others to add their personal […]

  • Abe S. says:

    Ron,

    Can a vision be changed or altered? Is there any example of a changed vision biblically?

  • […] leadership philosophy at Grace Community Church and I have posted about the need for a leader to “give their vision away” to people he or she trust to make it […]

  • david b says:

    True, I think vision is one of the toughest pieces to share and “pass off” in an organzation..Yet it is probally the most importaint bit on knowledge your team needs. Also, far too often people complicate their vision, making it tough to understand….they use standard “fill in the blank” visions rather ones from the heart

  • You have just nailed precisely a principle that I have been trying to work on with the Issachar Network. How to give away a vision for the Church in the 21st century, that’s globally connected, doctrinally sound, culturally relevant and actively serving God. I am still working on my elevator speech.

  • Aaron Kesson says:

    Reading this caused me to think about a philosophy I try to live by in my own ministry. I heard it from a youth ministry professor in my undergrad career, he said “your goal should be to work yourself out of a job”. The idea here, being just as you said, giving our vision away. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Aaron Kesson’s last blog post..Sermons Online

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