Visionary Projection: Leadership Blind-spots
A hallmark of a true apostolic gift is the grace to release others into their God-given destiny calling. This may include helping people first explore and discover a sense of personal vision, and more often than not, involves securing a foundational strength in Christ and His Kingdom mandate to pursue this call. However, a truly apostolic gift avoids visionary projection.
What is visionary projection?
Like its evil twin gift-projection, visionary projection imposes upon an individual or community a prescribed vision, creating pressure and expectations that the person or group does not have the grace to carry. It happens—admittedly, far too easily—when an apostolic-type leader projects onto a person or group his preconceived idea of what they ought to be and do. And even if this predetermined ideal has Biblical merit or (especially when) it’s a God-given vision in the apostolic leader’s heart; when it is “projected onto” a community (or individual), it becomes a noose around their necks.
As I understand it, the apostolic gift (in team with other gifts) serves to help an individual or community discern God’s vision for them (the person or group), and then supports the individual or community in realising their potential in Christ. The apostolic gift seeks no ownership of the person or group, and sets no prescribed expectations of performance for them; resisting the temptation to project its preconceived ideas of what the vision may, in fact, entail. Instead, it champions and supports the discoveries the individual or community make, cheering them forward in a delight that mirrors the Father-heart of God—even when words of correction are necessary.
An apostolic gift true to the Spirit of the Father lifts people on its “shoulder” so that they can reach their destiny; it doesn’t keep them under its “thumb” to fulfil its own vision.
I’ve seen well-intentioned apostolic leaders become frustrated with groups they’ve helped unaware that they set the group up for failure, straddling them with “heavy” prescribed ideals. Of course, by nature, blind-spots are “spots” blind to us. It is only as we survey the fruit of our ministries, inviting in the counsel and perspective of others, that we’re able to recognise whether we’re projecting our vision on to others, or not.