We often hear the term "visionary leader" in Christian ministry circles. It is used to describe leaders who have expansive vision for their ministry's future. "Visionary leaders" are sometimes like salespeople trying to sell their people on their vision.
"Visionaries," however, are often unfocused, scattered, have more ideas than the ministry can absorb, are easily distracted by the next great idea and seem by their staff to be going in different directions depending on the day or the next big thing. In other words, they can envision great things but can be low on the scale of focused direction and ministry execution.
I strongly believe that leaders need to be able to envision what can be for their ministry. But, it must be a focused direction with the ability to lead the ministry toward that goal in a disciplined and orderly way without the distractions of the next "big idea" or multiple and confusing focuses.
Vision without the ability to deliver on the vision is empty vision. It may sound great but like sales hype, if it cannot deliver it is not helpful. What ministries need are leaders who understand how the ministry can maximize its spiritual influence and then help the ministry go there over the long haul. These are the leaders who see their ministries make the most significant difference.
There are three kinds of leaders. The status quo leader who is content with managing ministry as it is without much change or innovation. Then there are confusing leaders who have great vision but are chasing those visions in ways that cause consternation for their staff. Finally, there are focused leaders who have a goal in mind and lead their ministry in a disciplined and focused way toward that goal.
Focused leaders are usually far more effective than what we often call visionary leaders. They know what the goal is and they focus their ministry on that goal with discipline. While they are highly flexible in their strategy, they don't waver in their direction of focus.