A “leader,” according to the old paradigm, can be defined as “the guardian of the institution.” By “institution” I mean, “a system of power and provision for those within itself.” Therefore, “a leader is one who exercises power over and controls provisions for those within the institution.” A common mistake for many is in thinking that, because the system has failed and leaders have come to resemble the power hungry busy-body lords of serfdom, we should rebel against the system (which is still old paradigm thinking). To understand the new paradigm, and transform (rather than rebel against) the broken system, we must necessarily redefine “the leader” and that over which he/she is “guardian.”
According to the new paradigm, the “leader” is “the guardian of the vision.” Since the leader is no longer guardian of the institution, he/she is no longer that which exercises power over and controls provision for anyone (including his/herself). The leader is called and equipped to be an agent of the vision which, therewith, is also an agent of change to the system. It is in the vision, not the institution, that one finds power and provision. The leader (simply) casts the vision. The vision is rooted in and is sent out from the mind of God.
For example: The church leader is no longer the guardian of the Christian Religion (not to be confused with the Faith of Christ, which would be the vision). He/she is, in the new paradigm, the guardian of the vision. The church leader, therefore, has no power to exercise over and no provision to control for the people in his/her care. The church leader has been called and equipped by God to cast the vision of God, which alone is the power and provision for the people as well as the leader. This necessitates “sola fida” (faith alone). Likewise, the “job” of the leader, then, is to cast the vision so that people can catch the vision. The leader is not the moral/ethical police; he/she does not tell people how to live, and he/she is not the source of power by which all provisions flow. The church leader casts the vision of God. The people catch the vision of God and know Jesus for themselves. They live according to the vision of God in Christ, who is the true source of power for all provision. In this sense, the leader casts the vision and the people enact and walk-out the vision as a way of life. To over-simplify: The church leader casts the vision and the people do the work of the vision. The leader is not responsible for the work, but casting the vision. If he/she does not cast the vision, then he/she is responsible for the people’s ineffectiveness.
God provides for God’s vision. If God has called the vision casters (visionary leaders) then God has also called the vision carriers (detail people to do the work). The leader is not the fund-raiser. He/she is the vision caster and God provides for God’s vision. And, thus, the Church does not make disciples for itself, but of Christ. God provides for God’s vision. The leader casts the vision; the people catch and follow the vision (not the leader), and God adds to the church as many as are being rescued – the transformed system.