Patch Adams is a great example of leadership. He is determined to chase the dream/vision of helping people. When he fixed a cup and was called “Patch,” he realized he could help people. This identity gave him the confidence to chase after this vision and propelled him into all kinds of circumstances. He thought outside the box that medical school gave him and challenged everything he was taught in regards to professional distance. He learned to look beyond a problem to it’s solution from a man in a mental hospital and imagined a new kind of hospital by playing with a napkin dispenser and ketchup bottle. Vision and new ideas just flowed out of him because he was always on the lookout for them. These things were more than just ideas though – or as Andy Stanley would put it – they were more than dreams that “could” be, they were visions that “should” be. And Patch was the kind of guy who really worked to make them happen. He was also good at relationships – people wanted to be around him – They could get behind his vision for helping people because they trusted him so much.
Patch is a leader. He was a man of character and skills, who was good at relationships and had a vision that they could get behind.
In his book Visioneering, Andy Stanley makes a clear distinction between these two.
“Dreamers dream about the world being different, but visionaries envision themselves making a difference. Dreamers think about how nice it would be for something to be done. Visionaries look for an opportunity to do something.”
I wanna be a visionary. He goes on to describe the situations which led to his church plant. It seemed like the furthest thing from happening, but he prepared himself anyway, and did what he could so that when the opportunity arose, he’d be ready. He also points out that Nehemiah did the same, when the circumstances didn’t allow him to move on his vision, he prayed. He did all he could when he could do it and prayed for opportunities to come.
If I wanna be a visionary, and God really is calling me to a church plant, maybe I should be working on drawing up a vision statements, outlines for a church structure/government, bylaws, and requirements/benefits of church membership. That way, when God gives me an opportunity, I’ll be ready. I’m sure I won’t be able to get it right, but at least there’ll be something to work with – some place to start. Maybe this is kinda like the old statement about faith – “If you pray for rain, you better leave the house with an umbrella.”
I’ve decided. I’m going to start working on these things and studying how others have done it.
I started back to class last night and had a great experience once again. This class is going to focus on Relationships and Vision in Leadership – the horizontal parts of the leadership compass. I’m excited about it ’cause these are the areas I’ve stressed over my years in ministry. It’s hard to lead people anywhere if you don’t have some sort of relationship with them. It’s also hard to lead them, if you don’t have some dream about how things should be. I’ve always seen myself as an adventurer and really enjoy experiencing new things (except when it comes to food). Anyway, because of this, vision is fun for me.
We’re supposed to do a group movie project and I got voted to be the leader. When everyone was deciding which part of the leadership compass (Character, Skills, Relationships, Vision) they wanted to work with, I got the leftovers. I guess that’s how a leader should do it, but the good news is that the leftover point was “vision.” It’s the one I would have chosen anyway. God is good! We’re going to analyze Patch Adams’ through this leadership model.
The other night Miranda and I decided to go out to eat in Pearland. Montana, one of the youth, was bored and called us so she ended up going with us. As we drove back towards Lake Jackson, Miranda said that it would be a beautiful night to look at the stars. We were pretty close to the exit for Brazos Bend State Park, which is also where the George Observatory is, so I said, “Why not? We don’t have any other big plans, so let’s go on over there.” We had always talked about checking it out, but never done it. Anyway, we got there and it all ended up being a bit more costly than I had thought, but still, a great experience. There were quite a few amateur astronomers out there with their telescopes pointed to quite a few different things and they all allowed us to look too. It was, in some ways, a pretty cool little community. I wonder how the church church would be different if everyone shared their excitement and passions with others?
Anyway, we got a really close look at the moon, the planet Neptune, a “double-double,” M15, and Holmes’ Comet. The talk of the night was Holmes’ comet. Evidently in the past few days it changed from a very dim comet to a very bright one. It orbits somewhere just inside Jupiter and takes six years to go around the sun one time. It also doesn’t have a tail like I imagined comets to have. Most theories about why it’s gotten brighter have to do with it breaking up and gaining more surface area to be seen. It can be seen with the naked eye right now. The double-double is actually four stars. Two pairs of them have somehow gotten into an orbit around each other. They look like two stars until you look a little closer and realize there are actually four.
M15 was pretty interesting too. It’s a globular cluster of stars that are 3500 light years away. That means that the image I was looking at was 3500 years old. They may not exist at all right now – it just took 3500 years for the light to travel that distance – it’d be another 3500 years before I could look at what it actually looks like today. Weird stuff to think about. This means that as we learn to look deeper and deeper into space we can actually see into history itself. Considering that they say they have seen stars millions of light years away, how does this fit with the whole creation story in Genesis? How old is the earth? Are faith and science at odds? I’ll never know the answers to these questions, but these kinds of experiences make me think.
OK – so if we can see into the past, is it possible to see the future? How can I be the kind of man who can lead others into the future that God desires for them? In order to find certain stars in the sky, the astronomers used other stars as reference points. Over the years I’ve learned to figure out God’s direction by looking into my past and focusing on specific reference points to draw a line into the future. I understand how that works for an individual, but what about doing that for a group? a church? a ministry? How far do you need to look into the past? How do you determine what reference points to focus on? Is this why relationship is so important? – so people will trust you with their past enough for you to discover a future? How do I find the “yellow brick road” for a group of people? Or do I just start walking the road He has for me (like Dorthy) and get others to join me in the journey?
OK God. I’ve got all kinds of questions. I know You’re using this time in my life to expand my understanding and view of You, and I’m so grateful to be growing. Help me to answer these questions and lead me to ask the right questions. I truly want the future that You have for me.
There’s a song on a CD called “Big Times in a Small Town” (it’s on itunes) written by a guy named Chuck Pyle that reminded me of some of the “Vision” stuff we’ve been reading lately. Here are some of the lyrics in the intro to his song:
Did you ever stand on the ledges
on the brink of a great plateau,
and look from her jagged edges
on the country that lay below?
There, where the vision meets no resistance
and there’s nothing to stop the gaze,
’til the mountain peaks in the distance
stand wrapped in a purple haze.
There, where the things you thought were strongest
and the things that you thought were great,
and for which you’d striven for longest
don’t seem to carry very much weight.
When you’re lookin’ on this vision
and your outlook’s so clear and wide,
I think that might be the time and place
to stand there and decide.
‘Cause should you return to the city
and mingle again with the throng,
and your heart grow bitter from pity
or maybe just a strifen wrong.
Others might laugh in derision
or the voice of the past go dim,
Just remember that cool decision
you made that day on the rim.
Anyway, all of this just reminded me of the importance of vision. Without vision, when critics start casting doubt or questioning you, you’ve got nothing to hold on to – you’ll be tempted to just cower down to every whim of every person. Of course with vision, it’s a whole different story – you’ve got something to strive toward and nothing will be able to get in your way. Also with vision – others can get on board with you and they can feel empowered to move forward.
I just wonder – how do I get up there on that plateau? How can I be in tune with God in such a way that I can see like He wants me to?