how to lead in chaos - Visual
to, or used in vision; attained or maintained
sight; producing mental images; done or
by sight only; relating to, or employing
have to admit, I am a total visual person, I think in
imagination, visual, pictures are the language I speak
me, thinking in picture seems more natural, freer and
less reactivate; I am able to connect with the world
around me in image and imagination.
I love sitting in the park, or mall, and watching
the people; heck, I love sitting in any crowded setting
and watching people.
When I watch people I see so many different
stories, so many different truths, and so many different
love watching people, getting a “visual” of whom
they may be, and when we meet to see if my “picture”
meets the reality. I have often wondered why I think so clearly in picture, and
in dimensions; I see things others miss, and even when I
view a 2D picture, I can see it in 3D (neck, sometimes I
think I am seeing things in 6D).
It was hard figuring out that mess[i]
because I am dyslexic[ii].
For me, seeing something is far more important
the hearing something.
I was a child in school the counselors and teachers told
my mother that I had this “handicap,” this
“disorder,” that would limit my ability for higher
education and profession; I thank God my mother never
listened to the advise given by the experts.
About fifteen years back I started to do some
reading on dyslexia[iii]
and what it means, to get a better understanding of this
gift in my life. After
all, why was I the way I was and why did I think the way
I did. About
five years back, I was given the biggest surprise in my
life, that is when I found out that those who have this
gift think very different then others.
We think in pictures and dimensions, we grasp
things better visually and we are able to translate that
image into story, what we see can be “spoken” in
layers of the story.
Over the past few years I have had the
opportunity to meet some very cool people who also
pastor postmodern/emerging church, and while I would not
say that all “visual” pastors are dyslexic, those I
have spoken with over time have admitted to having this
wonderful gift. For
me, visual is powerful and meaningful.
I love watching God move in his people.
To see what so many in my past told me was a
“disorder” or a “handicap” turn into one of the
greatest gifts God could give a pastor today.
those of us with the gift of dyslexia think, live and
breath visually, it has been said that 95% of what
people learn generally is visual, “regular” people
learn best when they connect the words with picture (and
even other senses), to place words and actions together.
Even those without this gift think in terms or
back on your High School math class. I am sure it was much easier to understand what a rhombus[iv]
was with a picture.
Basically, everyone gets a better connection on
things when we think in terms of picture.
Given that we are a visual people, and a
“servant” in the 21C thinks in terms of visual –
why do we still insist on “writing” our “vision”
do we place into words, a vision given by God?
Why nor connect that “vision” with being
our expression of image we need to take “vision” and
add the “visual.”
Being “visual” is being able to place
imagination into worlds with pictures, sounds, smells,
tastes and more. Have
you ever smelled a smell and a picture pop into your
because we are visual.
Have you ever tasted a taste and a picture pop
into your mind? That’s
because we are visual.
When we express in images, visual, we express in
terms people can remember.
be honest with you, I
think we have spent too much time on “church vision
statements;” after all, what do they truly mean?
Most of the time, they are empty, hollow words
with no action connected.
I have found that for most people, a “vision
statement” has been used to control others and not
empower them. I
know of Pastors who use the “God gave me a vision for
this church” over the heads of people and subject them
to their will. I
think every church I have ever consulted for, visited,
spoke at, walked past or saw in a phone book has some
kind of vision statement.
Yet, I would venture to say that 99% of the
people in the church have no idea what that vision
statement even is, and if they do they have no idea what
it means or how to put it into action.
the past few years that I have been interested in
emerging “servanthood” I have been fascinated by the
fact that Jesus never had a vision statement; yet every
book I have ever read on modern church leadership sell
the importance of a vision statement.
Still, over time, the people caught on to his
ministry, why? What
did he do that was so different from what we do today?
Simple, Jesus was visual, and not interested in a
vision statement, he was interested in living a visual
and you will see?” are the words Jesus shares, not
“read my vision statement, see what God has called me
to do and if you can buy the vision you are welcomed to
come along.” Jesus
just said, “Come and see.”
I was a kid my Father use to say, “do as I say, not as
I do.” Being
a visual learner this drove me crazy, because it just
did not connect in the brain cells.
In fact, I still did many of the things he did
– no matter what he said, because I am a visual person
– I will do as you do, not as you say.
Visual “servants” keep this in mind.
They know that people will do what they do, and
act the way they act.
Our words must equal our actions.
For those of us who think in visual terms,
“casting” vision simply means sharing, in story, the
visual of the ministry.
Brining to life that which God places in our
hearts and giving voice to picture.
the question still remains, how do we move from Modern
Vision Casting to a Postmodern Visual Casting approach?
I believe the answer is found when we look deeply
at who we are, what we say, how we say it and what we
truly mean by it all.
We need to change the operating system of the
church to allow people to express themselves in open and
dynamic ways. We
need to remove any and all traces of the Institution
that forms our views and center directly on the image of
Jesus Christ. Billy
Graham once said, “I do not love Christianity, I love
Jesus Christ” and we must develop the same idea.
The institutional Church needs to redefine what
it means to share story and image. Those who are servants need to know that “leadership” in
the 21C requires visual images and compete imagination
to express the love of Christ and the movement of the
Spirit to render the church useful in the 21C.
of being Visual.
I would like to do is explain what the elements of
“visual” are and how they work to give those in
service the edge they need to truly reach a people who
think in image. Each
one of the sections needs to be expresses with an open,
loving heart. It
is what I call “being transparent.”
Be ready to express your humanity, accept your
flaws and the flaws of others.
We are a people who desire to “become” and
not live in “one is.”
We desire growth and learning, not dogma and
means that there are no secretes in the Postmodern
is open and expressed.
We do not judge others for there faults; we
confess our sins and not the sins of others.
It needs to be expressed at this point, that for
some visual is not just pictures, it is also the art of
using words to spin a tail, a story that excites the
mind and stirs the imagination.
is a creative reality, art, graphics, paintings, style
need to be used express the visual of the community of
servantship one must be more poet then CEOs, more
painter the CFOs, more artist then manager, more servant
then supervisors. Visual
people are creative people; it is in their DNA.
They create, because they have a need to create.
If they do not, they feel like they will explode.
I have found that most visual people are also
very optimistic in their creativity.
Where some would see an obstacle, they see an
opportunity; where others see a problem, they see a
remember once interviewing with a church planting
organization in Arizona.
In our “interview” I was asked by the one of
the “leaders” of the group (he pastored one of the
larger churches in the Phoenix area) what I felt were
some of the “problems” facing the church today?
When I answered that I did not see them as
problems, but rather as possibilities he lost his cool
and started to tell me how silly I was and how “out of
touch with reality” I was.
Needless to say, I did not get the planting
position, but I did learn a valuable lesson that day.
Never tell a pessimist that the day looks great.
means being a “story tellers” (or as I like to think
“narrators” and an “illustrator”) of life –
story is words expressed with a mind towards the visual,
as you speak images flash on the screen and your words
are made stronger by the images.
Visual does not drive the image, just the
of the most moving expressions I have ever been part of
was when for ten minutes, images of the poor, war torn,
hurting, homeless and sick were flashed over head as a
group of people read passages of scripture – no
sermon, not “lesson” spoken.
But the power of the images and words together
caused hearts to open and lives to change.
It is in that ability to paint with words,
images, ideas and expressions that reach people today.
People need to “see” the church in action and
not just hear the words of action. A servant is one who models what a follower is (not perfect,
but forgiven) – it’s “do as I do, because I do as
I say.” If all you do is preach how we need to feed the homeless, and
you have no “visual” ministry (a “do” ministry)
than all you have are empty words.
Creativity and visual are both “do” – and
we think in terms of “doing” – creating, being a
visual creator – we think in terms of God.
God creates because he loves us and wants us to enjoy
Not because He wants us to live like gray
zombies, but because his nature is to create that which
is visual to us. When
we visualize the creation account we see a picture that
is much more then the simple words “In the beginning
God created the heavens and the earth.”
We get a picture that is of a wondrous event.
the vast expanse of nothingness comes a voice, a word
that creates; a voice that speaks of love and unity; a
voice of authority and grace, judgment and forgiveness;
a voice that creates.
From this nothingness this voice gives the
expression of all and with a word, a single, pointed,
meaningful word, the voice creates all that you see, all
you feel, all you know, all you sense, you do not see,
and all you question.
With one word, this voice, God’s voice, a
vision of creation is formed.
simply speaks a word, "Light!" and throughout
the universes light shines and the warmth of the day
God saw that the light he had spoken into was good, so
He separated the light and the dark, creating day and
nigh, evening and morning and He called it “day
we need to remember is that to a first century mind, the
words became images in their minds – they “saw”
what was being spoken to them. The more “creative” the narrative, the better the
visual is very empowering, for all parties concerned.
People see the visual reality of what it is about
and they run with it. It is not organizational or institutional, it is people based
and person driven – it is shared and not controlled,
visual empowerment is very organic; I remember when I
first started in ministry, I found that people would
share their faith with others, if I did; they came to
study groups, if I did; they worked in community
ministries, if I did – my visual empowered them to
also empowered me, because others started to get
involved in different ministries, and my time became
free – and freedom is empowering.
people are empowered to do ministry, a great explosion
in ministry will happen.
I know of many different churches that claim,
“we empower our people to get involved” – but the
problem is “we” do not empower – we example and
God empowers – empowerment is not “giving
permission” to be in ministry.
Empowerment is you doing ministry and others
seeing you do what you say is important, then they will
do as well. I
know of many pastors who talk about fellowship, but
seldom join in fellowship activities; many who say,
“make honest friendships with non-believers” yet all
their friends are believers; others who speak about
feeding the poor, but only show-up to “make an
appearance” at a feeding event.
Keep in mind, people do not need permission, they
need a visual.
expect visual to happen over night.
Because it is “see and touch” it could take
longer, but a servant knows that and allows the process
to take hold. The
modern idea of “saved and service” seems a bit out
of place today, service takes time and people need to
see the visual before they get hooked into the action.
Servantship takes time and it is an investment in
time and people. And
it is a reality; when we deal with people (organic)
things take a while, when we deal with program
(mechanic) things can be faster.
When we understand that we are dealing with
people and not a program we come to the realization that
this will take time.
worked with his disciples on a regular basis, and worked
to correct them on a regular basis.
Look at how Jesus interacted with his Disciples,
at some level it’s like a Three Stooges movie, they
just did not seem to get it, but Jesus kept working with
them – even when you can tell he was tired of their
missing the boat. Servantship
today requires that we be willing to truly invest in the
people God sends our way.
It is not what we teach them, it is what they
learn in the process.
To truly get to the visual of a person one needs
to truly love them, and show that they truly care.
Keeping in mind that words must equal actions.
If people only see you as “talking a good
game” they will not want to play.
Take the time to truly get to know the people in
your life – those who are striving in the process.
Remember it is not a numbers game.
If you live in process with people, numbers will
come – but never count the people, count the time you
spend with each person.
of the postmodern/emerging pastors I know spend a great
deal of time with the people around them.
While I would never suggest you make it a
mechanical thing, keep track of the time you spend with
people – not at church, meetings, or other church
things – but truly with people – at home, watching
TV, playing video games, walking, riding bikes.
Don’t create a program around the idea of
getting to know people – just get to know them.
personal (micro) and tribal (macro):
the big picture in relationship to the smaller picture
is central to visual.
The “smaller” picture is how we as
individuals act, while the “bigger” picture is how
we all interact together.
Many of the modern books on “leadership”
suggest that you take one or the other, while in the
emerging visual is a “both/and” reality.
modern system does not take into account that there can
never be enough available information to make a “right
the “right decision” is based on meeting future
goals, you automatically limit the possibilities because
the decision is based on a desired outcome, and not what
is currently happening.
Since modern leadership is motivated by meeting
goals based on an uncertain future, we must admit that
it is impossible to meet the plan because we are moving
to an uncertain future.
There are several problems with a modern
being zero flexibility, failure blamed on
one-person (usually the Pastor, after all it is his
vision, and never the Board – I call this “failure
motivation”) outcome is usually measured on hard
numbers and not human involvement.
We can see this system as a “modern-planning”
system, but we need to understand that long range
planning that excludes the organic is dead?
The idea that the “macro” (the big picture)
is more important then the “micro” (the little
picture) is not a central idea in a postmodern/emerging
servantship the idea that people count and that helping
people is far more important then budgets, is a very
visual being both personal and tribal it is highly
collective in nature and function – the servant needs
to be “empathic” at a core level, and listen to the
hearts of the people; it is a very spiritual connection.
The narrative of the visual is not a concrete
plan with rules designed to get us to a place we may not
desire to be; but rather an organic collective of ideas
and conversations that bring us to where God desires us
to be. When
we think in terms of the organic, we think in terms of
the reality of people and we strive to see the people in
everything we do.
of it’s tribal nature, the idea that visual must
changes on a regular base to truly be valid is a driving
force – it “goes with the flow,” if you will;
personal and tribal requires an organic look at life and
not a stagnant mechanical look.
Flowing, or “going with the flow” means we
are able to change directions as the flow changes
is also an understanding that the personal needs to the
tribe are best supplied by meeting the personal needs of
the individual. For
example, a local neighborhood Italian Food Store,
noticing a change in the neighborhood, starts to add
other items to meet the changing needs of the new people
in the area. If
they did not understand the flow of visual they could
become a “great Italian food store” and close to the
competition in the area.
But they get it, and they add different items to
increase sales. When
we see the narrative of visual we see a different way of
sharing the gospel, we can repeat the story – we can
even add to the story – but the bottom line is this
– we share the story, and we share our story.
Our visual is to share the gospel, with everyone
we know and meet – not just the select few we believe
fit the image of our church, or the numbers of our
is clarity vision can get blurry.
While I will never say that visual is concrete,
it is not quicksand either.
Being visual allows for clarity of mind, sprit
and life. If
the visual gets blurry, it is you and not the picture.
For example, you are looking at a picture.
If the picture gets blurry, it is your eye –
your vision – that is getting blurry, the picture
stays clear. Visual
stays clear vision gets blurry.
The picture is clear, not overly fuzzy (it can
have fuzzy edges).
But just because groups of people do not see the
“big picture” does not make it unclear.
It could mean they are in need of a good set of
glasses to correct their vision.
What I have found is that when modern minds
strive to see a postmodern picture, it is always blurry.
Not everyone will see where you are going, and
that’s all right; not everyone needs to get it. I remember talking with an individual who came to me and
said, “I have been coming here for about three weeks
and I have to tell you I feel out of place.
Everyone seems to know where we are going but me,
I just don’t see the vision of this ministry.”
After a somewhat long conversation, it was
determined that the ministry was not where he needed to
be – so we helped him find another community of faith
were he can “get it.” To this day, if I see him around town he is thankful for his
experience with us and thankful that we found him a
place where he fit.
visual is one of the key areas for “quantum
servanthood” in the 21C.
It allows for people to connect, and express,
with others who they are and how God is using them.
Being visual means that you will need to place
much more on people and less time on program.
It also means that people will have to be the
first and foremost in all ministry areas – over budget
and over building.
Modern churches will have a hard time with this
thought because they still believe that money drives the
central concept of modern leadership is to dictate from
the top down what the church will and will not do.
While it “allows” some to suggest certain
ministries the “approval” is still “at the top.”
Being visual requires that those “at the top”
be truly at the bottom for it to work.
It requires that you take a chance and move past
the comfort of “being the boss” to the exciting and
meaningful role of getting down and dirty.
- It is suggested that many learners with dyslexia
have right-brained dominance. They find that the
range of subjects and the style of teaching in
school do not play to their strengths and can leave
them with a sense of frustration and failure.
Dyslexia is estimated to occur in about 4-8% of the
- Dyslexic people are visual, multi-dimensional
thinkers. We are intuitive and highly creative, and
excel at hands-on learning. Because we think in
pictures, it is sometimes hard for us to understand
letters, numbers, symbols, and written words.
quadrilateral with both pairs of
opposite sides parallel and all sides the same
length, i.e., an equilateral parallelogram. The word
rhomb is sometimes used instead of rhombus, and a
rhombus is sometimes also called a diamond.
Genesis 1:1 – it all starts with creation.
“Actually, I don't have a sense
of needing anything personally. I've learned by now
to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm
just as happy with little as with much, with much as
with little. I've found the recipe for being happy
whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty.
Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it
through anything in the One who makes me who I