A different look at every day issues.

Leadership at the End of the Limb

It is easy to talk about faith in generic terms. That is safe and even predictable. If we all agree in general terms but do not allow ourselves to get too far out on the limb, we only maintain a theoretical substitute for the real thing. Many—even most—have settled for the operation of faith within the context of their own ability. That is called management—not faith.

Faith drives vision. Vision builds the bridge to one’s preferred future. It is at this point that leaders must realize they were called by God to do more than just preside over the status-quo.

It is at this juncture of understanding and conviction that leaders must become familiar with the end of the limb. It is not a place of comfort. Nor is it a place of irresponsibility. It is the place they get to see first-hand just what God can really do if given the chance.

Anyone who has been around me for very long has discovered that I don’t like getting bogged down in details. I’m not ashamed to admit my focus problem. Don’t get me wrong, it’s just not in my nature to haggle over minor issues when there is a bigger issue—at least in my thinking—on the table. Haggling over minor issues keeps true leadership from engaging and bringing change or growth to an organization.

Leaders must always provide an example of fruitfulness in their own lives and ministries. They can never be effective if they only offer theory but have never led a model of health.

There are a few thoughts about fruitfulness that bring the whole imperative for visionary leadership into focus. It’s simple and I am sure I am not the only one to have received this epiphany, but it is relevant to justifying our existence.
  • Fruit grows at the end of the branch, not up close to the trunk;
  • The trunk represents management; the end of the branches represents vision fueled by faith;
  • Growth takes place at the end of the branches;
  • A tree gets most of its sunlight at the branch’s end—not close to the trunk;
  • Sunlight represents revelation and occurs where the fruit grows; 
Here’s my pitch line: we need to spend more time at the end of the branch. That’s the area that represents faith and that’s the area where fruitfulness will occur.
    We have all heard the phrase, “going out on a limb.” We usually infer that to do so is irresponsible and reckless, when in fact, it is where we will experience fruitfulness—both in our lives and ministries. 

    One final thought – offered by Craig Van Gelder in his book, Ministry of the Missional Church. He points out that when organizational loyalty is lost, one of the available options is to heighten compliance with rules and procedures. That option also accompanies down-sizing and the management of organizational entropy (gradual death).

    My question is this: Are we experiencing faith at the end of the limb or are we hugging the trunk? Leadership that provides impetus is leadership that is willing to go out on a limb. 

    "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."  John 15:5



    It takes leadership to pursue one's vision.

    Godly vision will come through the prophetic, whether God speaks only within your own spirit, or through someone else and verified in your spirit. Pursuing prophetic vision (God's Direction) requires Faith.

    Faith = Belief + Action

    Persevering in Faith for your prophetic vision will bring that vision of the future into today's reality. James 1:3-4


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