Should vision be top-down or grassroots?

Grassroots VisionNot really sure where I stand with this.

Is it the role of a church’s pastor to cast vision for the church and get other people on board? Or should it be a grassroots vision that grows from the body and the role of the pastors is to help the body succeed with its vision? In other words, should vision be top-down or a grassroots movement?

I’ve been around the church world long enough to know that many people are going to go middle-of-the-road with a, “It’s both!” instead of taking a stance either way. While I realize there are clearly elements of both in any church context, ideally, which direction should the vision flow? If you could wave a magic wand and make the vision flow from either direction, which would you choose and why?

My magic wand would say there’s more potential for momentum and impact when it’s grassroots, probably because it feels more natural and thus the passion may be more contagious. I’ve definitely seen this take place in amazing ways, so I know it’s possible, but it seems to happen less frequently than the top-down approach. Maybe because we’ve conditioned the people we serve to look to us for direction? Have we established ourselves as top-down leaders instead of equipping and encouraging the body to cast vision and take ownership of it?

Personally, I feel that grassroots vision can be hit or miss, but when it hits, it hits hard and moves fast. Top-down can have a better hit-rate, but may take a lot longer to gain momentum.

What do you think? Ideally, should vision be top-down or grassroots?

Posted on December 13, 2010

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