EPISODE #93 – CAUTIONS FOR VISIONARY LEADERS
Welcome back to the Bootcamp! Bob is another year older and Jimbo confesses he feels old too, but hey let’s jump in and get started. Today the guys are talking leadership and vision today and outlay some cautions for Visionary Leaders. Have a question or comment? Drop us a comment, send an email or leave us a voicemail with our questions or feedback.
Cautions for Visionary Leaders
- Some Visionaries can be impulsive
- Sit on big ideas for a day or two to make sure
- Make big decisions with a team with feedback – not alone
- Spend time praying about it
- Consider times to lead the group in groupthink and let others pitch their ideas first
- Don’t try to persuade them to go with your idea
- Some Visionaries can be big on ideas while weak on execution
- Make sure you are making a executable plan – with steps – and deadlines
- Make sure to have a follow up process – be clear on who is responsible for what
- Some Visionaries struggle to prioritize people over progress
- You will most likely need to lead change at a slower pace than you desire
- Some Visionaries struggle with longevity in ministry
- Revi/replanting takes 5-7 years – stick it out
- Don’t lead the church to make a major change and then bail
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Show notes powered by Descript are an approximation of the verbal content, consult podcast audio for accuracy
[00:00:00] JimBo Stewart: Here we are back at the bootcamp, happy birthday to the golden guru of replanting. excited to see you take another trip around the sun.
Bob Bickford: Yes. Thanks. I appreciate that. I’m equally as glad that I’ve made another trip around the sun.
around the calendar. however you want to put it and Jim, but I think I was sharing with you. I am, uh, I am to the age when I was a youth pastor and I think all good replant. Where youth pastors, right? I’ll give pastors, I think where youth pastors and I think it’s a great training ground.
Nonetheless, I was a youth pastor first, first, professional ministry dig vocational ministry gig. We had a vacancy. We’re calling the guy in Jimbo. He’s a year older than I am right now. And when I was youth pastor, I was thinking, man, that guy is old. He is. And I’m a year younger than he was now. And so, uh, I have a lot of different perspectives now being the age I am and thinking about my age, but I really do.
I am getting old [00:01:00] gin by hurt myself sleeping, and I don’t know how, and I wake up in the morning and I’m tired and I’m just, I’m older. I can’t, my mind will, my mind says I can do it. My body says not so quick. it’s true, man. You get older and things.
JimBo Stewart: What’s the old country song and not old country song, but I’m not, not as good as I once was,
Bob Bickford: Yeah,
JimBo Stewart: I was once good as I ever was or something like that. I can’t remember exactly the way it’s worded, but
Bob Bickford: yeah.
JimBo Stewart: Oh yeah. I get it. I am not into the decades that you are yet. but I’m already starting to feel it, man.
And in certain ways I’m already starting to see myself, feel some of those things that come, um, I’m over, um, depending on how you define it. So my, my dad told me recently that apparently no males in our family line have ever made it to 70. and so I’m technically over the hill, if seventies, as far as I’m going to go.
Bob Bickford: Halftime you’d halftime up all your past app time there. Third
[00:02:00] JimBo Stewart: passing, I’m passing, nap time. I’m going to I’m in the third quarter. So, uh, no, my, my, so not to carry this introduction out too far. My wife recently suggested a book to me. She goes, Hey, I’ve heard good things about this. It sounds like something you may would like you to check it out. It’s called the gun lap.
And so I was like, okay, it’s on audible. I just finished another book on audible. So I started out listening to it as an audio book while I do my walk. And as I’m listening to it, it is a book designed to help you in your final chapters of life. And so, so that’s, my wife has said, how do you think I am like.
Bob Bickford: Did you recently buy a life insurance policy? Jimbo.
JimBo Stewart: so Hey, you know, you’re at the age now, Bob, I’m going to read the book. It’s pretty good. Uh, you might not consider it no lap. You might not to check it out. It’s a it’s for people that other people consider old.
Bob Bickford: Well, thanks, Jim. Bye. That throws me back to my eighth grade [00:03:00] years and I’m looking at it. I looked it up on Amazon and there’s a track on the cover. And when I was in middle school, I was not fast. I’m not super slow, but I wasn’t fast. I couldn’t run sprints. They put me on the distance team and my event was the mile and Jimbo.
Can I just tell you that I hated running them? And the gun lap is the last lap. And I’m just, I just gotta tell you, I don’t want to read the book simply because it has a picture of a track on the front of it.
JimBo Stewart: You know what that’s another thing you can do at your age, Bob was you can just decide you don’t want to do that.
Bob Bickford: that’s right. We went, when we were in the first season of replanting, we are trying to get to know everybody. And so we’d got to eat lunch and, you know, try to hang out with them. And so we took the oldest ladies, the ladies who were not married, we said, Hey, where do you want to go? Or they go up, we want to go to lunch.
Uh, we want to go to miss Sherry. Okay.
Ms. Sherry’s, Ms. Sherry’s was like a buffet, like kind of a Luby’s or a old country mayor or [00:04:00] something like that. So off we go to missionaries, me and my wife, my two beautiful daughters, and one of the oldest ladies, the oldest lady at the church and the time she said, well, I’m old and I’m so old that I’m just not going to do whatever.
I’m just going to go do whatever I want to do. And I’m going to say whatever I want to say. I was like, Yeah.
I’m thinking my mind. I don’t think that’s biblical somehow. And. I didn’t confront her on it at that time. Cause we had just been called to
JimBo Stewart: Yep. Yeah. When you get to a certain age, you’re just allowed to do that. Everybody else, just to let you, they give you the past. And so I think it comes, I think it comes with the ARP card. It’s a.
Bob Bickford: I will know about that, but man, I just don’t. If you see me pull that pass out, just take it and rip it up. All right.
JimBo Stewart: Okay. All right. All right. Well, let’s jump in. Uh, here’s what I wanted to talk about, uh, for a couple of episodes. Bob is the importance of balancing the two ideas of being a [00:05:00] visionary and a shepherd. Um, there’s been a lot of conversations recently, uh, even out in public of what does it mean to pastor?
Well, and there are. Polarizing concepts and ideas on this. And so one of the things that we see talked about so much in church health or church growth in particular is the idea of being a visionary leader. Um, having entrepreneurial aptitude and, and being a strong, driven visionary type guy. And we affirm that when we say that we want people to be a visionary.
Shepherd, but we also think you need to be a shepherd as well. And if there is a very important balance that needs to be found there. And so I thought it would be helpful for us to talk a little bit about, um, for this episode in particular, if somebody were to. Score higher as a visionary than as a shepherd.
And you break those out. Um, what are [00:06:00] some of the kind of pitfalls to visionary leadership that we have to think through? Uh, I believe both of us, uh, scored a little higher on visionary than shepherd. We kind of lean a little more that way than we do shepherd. And so. What are some of the things that you’ve learned or you think about as if you were coaching somebody who’s a high visionary as a pastor, particularly of a replant or revitalization that they want to make sure they’re thinking through.
Bob Bickford: I would say Jimbo is that, uh, visionaries pretty much. That is the lens they view, uh, through the life through. And so, because of that, Uh, they can see a, uh, opportunity or a situation or a circumstance, and they immediately look at vision. And so they immediately. Spout that vision probably. Oh, well we could do this or this could happen here, or I bet, you know, we can solve this problem in this way.
Right. Or, or there a worst [00:07:00] one there, if you’ve ever worked with or for a visionary, they can be on the stage and have an impulse in that moment where they go, oh my God. And they’re talking while they’re, while this thought is occurring in their mind. And they think of a vision right there, and then they announced the vision.
So in that way, visionaries can be very impulsive and they can just spout something and having been a staff member or a team member working for that person. I can just, I start getting texts immediately from other staff members, but is this the new direction? Is this where we’re going? Why didn’t we talk about this in the media?
Who, when did we decide this? Right. So I think that’s. Pretty part and parcel for a visionary.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah. I look, I have struggled with that temptation because as I’m talking out loud, man, an idea that in my mind seems to be maybe the most brilliant thing I’ve ever thought in my life, uh, comes to my mind. And at that moment it feels so brilliant [00:08:00] and urgent. And effective and important that I feel like I just need to say it out loud right now and let’s execute on it before it leaves my mind.
It, part of that, to be honest is if I don’t say it out loud right now, I may not remember it in 25 minutes.
Bob Bickford: Another vision, will replace it,
JimBo Stewart: Another vision, replace it, if it’s that good and that brilliant. I feel like, man, we got to get it out. We got to act now. Uh, but one of the things I have learned to try to develop in my own life is, is write that down. Maybe not during a sermon. Um, but, but write that down, sit on it for a day or two, pray about it, uh, before I present it.
And then here’s one of the other things I realized with that is as I. Present, I think IBM, these to be run through the filter of team, uh, some way so that people can give insight into it. But here’s what I realized as a high visionary. I re I didn’t, I honestly did not realize how [00:09:00] passionately I always communicate my ideas.
And what ends up happening is. As I will go into a meeting and I’ll communicate, my idea was such great passion that people feel like, oh, I can’t really poke holes on that. Look how excited he is about like, he’s so excited about this, that this must be the right thing. Or they feel like, I don’t know that I could speak as passionately about the questions that I have, or he’s going to take it personally.
Or I might take it personally if, if you question it. But I think, I think it’s valuable to take that idea to the team and discuss it. Let people poke holes in it and let people ask questions and be willing to get your feelings hurt. If the idea is not liked by everybody and, and let the team kind of group think and all speak into it, pray about it.
Make sure the Lord’s in this, not just some random idea you had.
Bob Bickford: yeah, I got in trouble for this one time. Visiting associate pastor. Um, I was working on staff at a large church in [00:10:00] the Dallas Metro area, and Brett was very passionate about something. We were passionate about a lot of things. Right. And so I was, I was on one of those speeches that you just described. I didn’t think anything of it.
We left staff meeting and went on with our tasks and responsibilities, but our children’s pastor went and told our senior pastor, Hey, um, I had a problem with, you know, uh, Bob’s energy and his passion and all that. So he was like, well, then you need to talk to Bob. Right? So she, she came into my office and sat down and explained it to me.
And, um, I was like, Okay.
well, I didn’t understand that. And she, she basically said, I felt run over by your, your passion and your energy. And I think what you’re saying Jibo is really good if we’re, if we’re young in ministry or if we’re particularly passionate, if we can throttle that back a little bit, and then I would say this, if we could watch, if we could watch out for this, are people in the room buying what I’m selling.
[00:11:00] Or is, is there nobody resonating with the vision? Right? Because I think if they’re not resonating with it, it means it’s probably some, it’s probably just, you’re passionate about that idea. And in your mind, you see that being the idea. But if other people don’t get on board with it, then you know, that’s maybe something you should back down on a little
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, and I think we have to just be mindful of that. We are not. Decisions in isolation, right. That, that does need to be a team thing. And we’ve talked about that a lot, but here’s the other reason I think when we get so passionate about some things, depending on how a guy’s wired. Uh, so like for instance, if you were to use the synergists quiz from Les McKeown, that we’ve referenced many times and somebody is a high visionary, but lower on operator.
Uh, that means they’re probably lower on execution, which tends to happen a lot of times with some visionaries is they they’re very big on ideas. And so they’ll pitch out these huge ideas, but [00:12:00] execution is not necessarily their strong suit. And so. One, if you’re going to speak that passionately about an idea, make sure that there is an executable plan with steps primarily to make sure that this is the Lord’s direction and not just your gut feeling and your visionary brain working.
That was one of the things I had to realize. Just going back to that for a second, I had to realize. My, my brain is going to constantly come up with ideas. Uh, and because I came up with an idea and it makes sense to me does not mean that it’s what the Lord wanted for that team or organization at the time.
So that’s one, make sure it’s what the Lord’s doing. And then if you, even, if you do see that, that’s what the Lord has. Everybody agrees. This is a great direction for us to go. Um, We can have a tendency as visionary sometimes to just throw an idea out there, like spaghetti on a wall and see if it sticks, but we don’t make executable steps, uh, with clear follow-up processes and clear on who’s accountable for each part of those steps.
And yeah. And we, and [00:13:00] we will probably have lost passion about it by the next time we meet. And so we may not even bring it up to follow back up on and go, Hey, remember, last week I like was ready to light the world on fire for this idea. Like, but now I only remember what it is like we that’s part of why you sit on it.
It’s part of what you need to sit on it. But like, it needs to be something that you’re willing to sit with for long enough to execute it. Right. And so what are, what are some things you can think of to like, make sure that we have execution to these ideas?
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
Well, I think, you know, you’d mentioned Les McKeown and I’ve just encouraged guys to go back and, and listen to that podcast. And we’ll, um, podcasts about predictable success. We’ll probably link it in our, uh, in our show notes, but every visionary needs a, an operator in lesses scheme and an operator or somebody who can, who resonates with the vision, believes in it.
And then also can actually put feet to it and make it. Right. So I think of Nehemiah had kind of both, right. He was a visionary and then he [00:14:00] also was a strategic operator. Now he had other people. To do those things, but one of the things is he had the vision that the wall needed to be repaired. And then he had a strategy of next steps of how he could do it, right.
How God might be leading him to do it. So I think that’s the key is, is we we’ve, we’ve been around visionaries that have fanciful ideas to them. That sounded awesome. That we see there is no way in the world it’s executable or sustainable or scalable. Right. And so I think those are some key words. The first one is executable.
In that that implies, do we have the resources? Do we have the person power? Do we have expertise? Do we have the time? Um, et cetera, et cetera. But, but not only that is it, is it, um, is it scalable, CA CA is this sustainable? Is this something that we start at? We can finish it. Right. And, and would it outgrow, so I think those are some questions visionaries would do well to, to sit with, because execution is not just, can we start.
Or could we take one [00:15:00] pass at it? It has to do more with, with ongoing ministry because that’s a thing as visionaries who lead churches may, if they don’t, if they don’t think through this one, they can start firing at everything. Right. And in every week there’s a vision about this or that. So I think that can be very challenge.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, I it’s so important to think through some of these things here’s the here would be the next one I would think of is sometimes because visionaries are driven by big ideas and, uh, we can end up unintentionally prioritizing. Progress over people. And so we start to, we start to think so much about how do we make sure things are moving forward, um, that we can leave kind of a wake of, of casualties in the process for the sake of progress.
And this is where that balance of shepherd comes in. So importantly, uh, is, is making sure, uh, [00:16:00] that we. Are shepherding people as we’re leading them towards the vision. Okay.
Bob Bickford: Yeah.
I used to, I used to hear this story, um, from time to time, this was a phrase that I used that was used in a church that I’ve served with, uh, for a little while. And they said we didn’t. Something, when something like this, I want to try to see if I remember it, right. If not, you’ll have to edit this out of the show because something like this, we, we don’t, we don’t, uh, use people to do ministry.
We do ministry to get people done, something like that. Right. And so this idea was, Yeah.
That we’re going to do ministry. And through that, there’s a sanctifying maturing work for people and that sort of thing. But in reality, here’s what it ended up being Jimbo. We were, there was a wake of bodies in the aftermath of a vision that the culture was the point person or the point people for a particular [00:17:00] ministry or a particular, you know, leadership initiative.
They have the right vision. Don’t question the vision. Let’s just all do it. And then what a visionary typically does. Is if let’s say the vision is launched and it wasn’t really the place you were supposed to go, you should have been, you know, as chair, a lot more thought about execution and resourcing and things like that.
A visionary will double down on most of this, do it harder and try throw it more recesses resources at it, throw more people at it. And, um, it may not be that you should be doing that thing and it may not be the right thing. And if it’s not the right thing, God’s probably not gonna bless it. And so behind.
You’ll see a high casualty rate, high dropout rate. And that’s, I think one of the signs you probably need to think about, maybe we shouldn’t be doing this. Right. And, and so I think that, um, the, the people aspect there is critical and I’ll just go back to something I said earlier, if the people aren’t resonating with your vision, and if nobody has identified the [00:18:00] challenges of implementing that vision, you probably haven’t done all of the work that you need to do.
In maturing that in confirming that
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, the way I’ve heard it is, are you using people to build great programs or are you using. Programs to. Build great people, um, uh, same kind of thinking. Yeah. And so just know that you’re going to have to re just know that you have to lead change at a slower pace than you’re going to, like, I can just about guarantee you, if you’re a high visionary, you really don’t need to lead at the pace that you want to lead.
Uh, it needs to be a slower pace. You need to think about how fast do you want to go? And you have to dial it back, uh, as a visionary because high probability, but especially in a replant or revitalization, as you are not leading a bunch of other visionaries, uh, you’re you’re leading people who are more processed minded synergists minded.
And, and so you’re, you have to lead a slower pace than [00:19:00] you want. And there can become a little bit of adrenaline rush of like running as fast as you want as a visionary. And so make sure you’re not serving that adrenaline rush and you’re serving the Lord. And that congregation part of that is visionaries can get bored sometimes.
If things do go slow. And so longevity can be an issue for visionaries, especially in a replant or revitalization where the pace moves slower necessarily. I can promise you, listen to me. If you’re a visionary listening to this, you have to go slower than you. If you’re not going slow enough that it’s painfully slow to you, then you’re going too fast for the people in your church, most likely, uh, and be careful of the temptation to assume that your boredom means that God is calling you to something else.
Bob Bickford: Yeah, that’s, that’s really key. Uh, visionaries are easily fast movers and they’re [00:20:00] also, um, they can suffer from add, right? They can get, they can be enamored with the vision for a season. And then if they hit hardship or the thing stalls a little bit, it doesn’t mean it was the wrong vision. Just as part of leading change.
And, and sometimes the vision drags a little bit, and you have to reinvision the people and clarify it and adjust it in those sorts of things. So I think that’s a fantastic observation as well. And if you are just going from one vision to the next, you’re going to wear your people out, you’re really not going to accomplish anything and you’re going to be frustrated.
And so I think I would add to that. Um, if your vision is not implemented fully in the way that you’ve imagined it in your mind, You just need to understand. That’s probably the reality of how things are going to be. It’s going to be close. So maybe hold, hold the in target of the vision and the substance of the vision and the theme of the vision pretty closely.
But the details of it, you probably need to, [00:21:00] to handle with some grace because as a primary vision cast, You’re probably not going to be the person to implement it fully and let others come up, come onboard with you and help you mature that and make it even better that than you have. I’ve seen guys Jimbo and you probably have two that are really high capacity guys that can have a lot of vision that can make things happen, but they, they tend to be the single source of inspiration and execution, and they can pull that off for a while.
But what they eventually have is they don’t have people who think about ministry. They don’t have leaders, they have a network, uh, and an army of doers. And typically they’ll the person, the persons who are implementing the vision, they’ll do it in a way, or they’ll make application of it in a way that differs from the primary vision leader.
And if the vision leader is not mature enough, they can get really angry and blow those leaders out of the wall.
JimBo Stewart: Yeah, absolutely. And we’ve seen in so many [00:22:00] evidence in so many stories, how there becomes this tendency, uh, to revolve everything so much around your personality, your passion, your energy, and whether we’re talking on a grand scale. Like the ones that make the news, or we’re talking about a 50 person church, it’s just not healthy.
And it doesn’t, it doesn’t lead to healthy things for a church to build it all off of yourself. Uh, and so one of the other things I’ve seen, I would say this and I’ll summarize and we’ll close for this and we’ll come back to another episode on, on the other side. What, if you scored higher as a shepherd, we’ll come back and do that.
Um, but here’s the other thing I’d say I see with that sometimes is sometimes visionaries will lead a church to make a major, major change, uh, change buildings, change names, uh, things like that. And then they bounce pretty quick, uh, right after that. Um, because they get bored and they don’t know what to do next.
Uh, and so, uh, I, I, I would say that ties a lot into what we said several times, just as a visionary, just make sure that you’re not leading [00:23:00] just off of your gut feelings. Uh don’t trust your gut. Don’t don’t just trust your gut, right? Like we are under shepherds and, and we have to lead in the way that the Lord wants us to lead.
And we can’t just do. What we feel like needs to be done, um, make sure that you’re hearing from others, make sure you’re hearing from the Lord, pray to the Lord for wisdom and discernment, uh, to know what to do in those situations.