Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Secondary or Subordinate Vision

In a recent conversation with a former associate pastor we discussed the issue of secondary vision... pursuing the vision of another. This is essentially what an associate pastor is asked to do... and most of the associates I have known have a vision of their own that lies dormant, voluntarily subjected to the vision of the Senior Leader. This is as it must be... the Senior Pastor sets the vision and direction and all lower level leaders must find their fulfillment in executing that vision. Ideally you would match up visions... an associate who has vision that fits nicely into that of the Senior Leader's and allows both to be fulfilled, but this doesn't seem to be as common as you would hope. There are, however, associates who are certainly called to Senior leadership and have a God-given vision of their own... and repeatedly quenching their own dreams begins to take a toll on them spiritually and emotionally. There is a time when it is beneficial to all parties for an associate to "leave the nest" and go pursue that which God has birthed in them.

Part and partial to this conversation is the realization that there are hundreds of people with visions who would be more than happy to spend you and your talents and callings on their dreams. And it would be easy and somewhat natural for someone to jump at the chance to be 'needed' and go fill a role in a small church plant or other ministry... but doing so doesn't address the main issue... the vision God has given the individual. I have had many people invite me to come work with them in this or that church plant... some I have pursued... most I have not. There is no shortage of people who would be happy to wear you out for the kingdom...

If you are called to Senior Leadership then you will not be fulfilled indefinitely in an associate role. Working in a subordinate position should be viewed as training time or it will be unfulfilling. I love where I'm at and the people I'm working with... I love the type of church they are and are trying to build... but I still consider myself in training. The most difficult part of working this way is dealing with the fact that your opinions or decisions are not final... they are simply considered suggestions. Having come from a Senior Leader Role this has proven to be frustrating at times.

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