Last summer, Dr. Molly Marshall, president of Central Seminary, was asked to speak to a Doctor of Ministry seminar on “Entrepreneurial Leadership” and share some of the things she has learned in leading a “new generation seminary.”
One of the learnings she identified is a key leadership lesson:
“Seek wise counsel. An isolated leader cannot impose vision; rather, vision arises out of thoughtful collaboration. Leadership entails being a ‘keeper’ of the vision, however.”
Dr. Marshall shared two ideas here that are very important in the development of a vision.
First, the most effective vision arises from a process of collaboration. In a church, it rises up among the people of God as they engage their missional context. In a judicatory, vision is birthed by the shared experiences of congregations. In an organization, vision comes from the experience and abilities of the members of the team as they respond to opportunity.
Second, once vision is identified, the leader becomes the champion of the vision, encouraging and defending it as it is implemented. The leader keeps the vision alive and facilitates alignment of all resources to realize that vision. When members of the organization begin to falter, the leader exhorts and encourages them to “stay the course.”
Effective leaders learn both how to work with others to birth a vision informed by deep spiritual and theological concepts and how to champion that vision internally and externally.
Vision is the work of leaders but it is collaborative task.
(A version of this blog originally appeared on the CBTS website.)