What is a Visionary Leader?
The Visionary Leader, in a Media to Disciple Making Movements (M2DMM) context, is dissatisfied with the status quo of ministry. They are willing to wrestle with God to discover how to leverage the technology He has entrusted our generation to accelerate a DMM.
Initially, the Visionary Leader may be a “one-man band,” but they will need to begin building a healthy team. Preferably, this team would be composed of locals and those who are more competent than the leader in different skill sets.
When faced with a challenge, this leader will rejoice that the Bible is full of case studies where there are obstacles, mistakes, and loss. They will trust that God has a way forward, even if it’s a humbling or difficult way.
What are the Visionary Leader’s responsibilities?
Know God’s Revelation
Vision comes from revelation. We need to know what God has said that He wants. We know that He wants every tribe, tongue, and nation before His throne. He wants to use us to help the lost to be saved and the saved to be like Christ. He allows a generation to know the times and know what His people should do.
Regularly Evaluate According to Jesus’ Definition of Success
The Visionary Leader will not focus on media vanity metrics (i.e. private messages, clicks, views, etc). Instead, they will have a brutally honest focus on making disciples that Jesus says defines the success that He wants.
The Visionary Leader needs to have the mindset that whatever the problem is, it is his or her responsibility to deal with. If there are a lack of resources, a needed skill or teammate, the leader cannot sit around wishing or waiting. They need to be asking, seeking and knocking to see how God will provide for the work.
The Visionary Leader provides clarity on the mission, vision, values, strategic anchors, and processes. They don’t need to perfectly be able to articulate these to start with, but they need to start an iterative process of providing a basic understanding. Eventually, it is important to illustrate these to your team, coalition, potential partners, and funders to keep them forefront in daily work.
- Vision: What do we want to see happen?
- Mission: How will we measure progress toward this vision?
- Values: What are the things we are going to go overboard with? What kind of people do we want to be? What kind of people do we expect others to be who will work with us?
- Strategic Anchors: What kinds of projects and efforts will we do or not do based on certain criteria?
Do Whatever It Takes to Get the Job Done
Keep asking God what it is going to take to accomplish His vision and focus on faithfulness in whatever God reveals.
How does the Visionary Leader work with other roles?
Coalition Developer: The Visionary Leader will help the Coalition Developer create a culture in which questions and answers are both welcomed because each can contribute to accelerating the work. The leader will also help the Coalition Developer realize that for the partnership to work, all parties involved have to genuinely feel a need for others’ contributions.
Multipliers: Optimally the Visionary Leader will also be a Multiplier, leading from an end-to-end disciple making experience. The other roles are support roles for the objective of making disciples.
Dispatcher: The Visionary Leader will help the Dispatcher remember that “birds of the air” will steal good seeds if we do not act quickly. They will remind the Dispatcher to give more to the ones who are faithful and to take away from those who are not.
Digital Filterer: The Visionary Leader will remind the Digital Filterer that he or she cannot care for every seeker indefinitely. The more loving thing is for Digital Filterer to be a gatekeeper who makes calls on when it is time to assign a seeker to a Multiplier.
Marketer: The Visionary Leader will help the Marketer remember that the DNA we start with is the DNA we will end up with. It is imperative that the media content promote discovering, obeying, and sharing of the Word that we hope mature disciples will have. The leader will also embolden the Marketer to keep experimenting and will help the Marketer remember that the metrics that matter most are the ones at the bottom of the funnel. Encourage them to try many things and keep learning.
Technologist: The Visionary Leader will encourage the Technologist to be brutally honest about what is and is not working. They will encourage the “less is more” approach for simple and elegant technology solutions.
Who will make a good Visionary Leader?
- Cheaters make good leaders. They cheat, skipping to the end of the Bible to see how the story turns out: Our side wins. Every tongue and tribe and nation is before God’s throne. This emboldens the leader and all followers to risk everything toward that outcome. This creates expectancy that what Jesus did on the cross is truly enough to save our generation.
- Apostles tend to make good leaders. They often have a fairly high tolerance for ambiguity, but they will need others’ strengths if they want the ministry to continue moving forward.
- People who know how to “walk in the light” (1 John 1:7) sometimes make good leaders who can share successes and failure with extreme honesty.
- To start an M2DMM effort, an individual could leverage media to find seekers without making it too complicated. If a high school student has a social media tool in their pocket, they could and should use it to bring glory to Jesus.
What questions do you have about the Visionary Leader’s role?