Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. Source
Is there a difference between a true visionary and visionary dreaming? Yes! I believe that there is a difference between a true visionary and visionary dreaming. It is a subtle but very critical difference.
A true visionary is a man who actually gets his vision from God. There is no presumption or assumption. The vision is given to him by God. He doesn’t act as if he knows it all and have all the answers. He is willing to abandon his ideas about the work of God and embrace God’s
Visionary dreaming is sometimes tied up in ambition, ego, idealism or even cynicism. A person may claim that his vision is from God, but, as always, you can smell self, arrogance and condescension written all over it.
I believe God still speaks today. He hasn’t run out of ideas. And if He gives you a vision, even though it delays, wait for it, because it always comes to pass. In fact I want to urge you to seek and cherish His vision. Because He knows best.
Having said that, I also believe that God wants us to be creative or innovative. He created us in his image and looks for excellence in what we do. There is nothing wrong with saying – “I would love to meet this goal or realize this dream. Or, I would love to take this church or organization on this journey.”
I think visionaries are gifts from God with the ability to not only to see a better future but also to articulate that vision to others, inspiring them to see and carry out that vision. But what God doesn’t want us to do is attach his name to our creativity or innovation just to make people feel like we are spiritual or to convince them to follow our vision. I think we need to align our goals and dreams with his goals and dreams.
Now, the next paragraph is for those in any leadership position. Maybe you have a brother in your church, the guy who keeps telling others that he is not being fed through your sermons and that you are not anointed enough to stand behind the pulpit. Let me say this:
Sometimes visionary dreamers think they can do a better job than those who already lead or run a project. They think they are more creative than others or even more cynical, they think the efforts of others are lame because it doesn’t measure up with their idea about creativity, preaching, or leading. So they trash the efforts of others (may I say, their fellow brothers in Christ) or label their efforts as failure.
That, friends, is the only thing you can get from a visionary dreamer! Does God hate him? No… only his ways!