I made the comment the other day, in a conversation with a friend, that “I didn’t want to be a historian, but a visionary”. Since that time, I have reflected on that comment and if it really is something I believe. In context, it might have made sense. I really don’t want to dwell on past mistakes or successes, but I want to think about how God can use me in the future.
However, is a historian all that bad? There are places for both visionary and historian and I would hate to lose out on the benefits of either.
A historian, by definition, is a person who writes, compiles or keeps record of history, events; authority on a particular group of people, a region, or culture. A visionary is characterized by vision, foresight and dreams of the future for a person, an organization, an institution or a culture.
Here are my thoughts since that conversation:
1) Without past visionaries, history would be pretty boring. What visionary thinking am I doing now that will help mark and shape history in my life and world?
2) Without current historians, visionary leadership could become quite ridiculous. There would be no grounding.
3) I want to be a HISTORIAN OF MY FAMILY: I want to keep track of funny things my kids say and do. I want to keep the progression of our family history alive through stories and memories. Memories and important aspects of our little story need to be handed down verbally and/or written. Not like a museum, but more of a hall of fame. I want my kids to think, “I am part of the Price family and this is how a Price behaves, this is what a Price believes and that’s how I want to live”.
4) I want to be a HISTORIAN OF THE CHURCH AND MINISTRY: I want to remind people and myself just how far we have come together through the grace of God. I want to have something to measure how we are doing – even if the history is only a few years old – “Here’s where we were three years ago – now look at what God has done– amazing!” I want to recall the faithfulness of God on a regular basis – reminding myself that God has been at work in the hearts of people, just like me, for countless centuries – and I don’t want to forget that.
5) But, I also want to be a VISIONARY FOR MY FAMILY: I want to share what I expect for my kids. I want to pray for them, even as they are young, for their lives, their families, their spouses, their faith walks. I want to think about how we can grow as a family – worship together, serve together in missions and the Kingdom and how we can plan ahead to provide great opportunities for family memories and connections.
6) And I want to be a VISIONARY FOR THE CHURCH AND MINISTRY: I want to dream and help people dream about the best way to make the ministry of the church effective. I want to be thinking about what is coming, what changes need to be made and help the church and our leaders begin to take ownership in the vision.
I don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking the past was better. But, I also don’t want to lose the quality time I am given in this hour thinking too much about the future. I want a balance.
What are your thoughts? Which is better? Which is more important for you?
Tim Price, firstname.lastname@example.org