Called to Be God's Leader
Studies in Joshua
Joshua provides an entirely different perspective about visionary leadership. God gave Moses the vision. Joshua inherited the vision, in a refined state, and was called to complete the work of his predecessor and mentor, Moses (see Joshua 1:1-4).
Because Moses had sinned (see Numbers 20:10) and was disqualified from entering the new place of hope and freedom, the mantle of leadership was passed to Joshua. This strikes me as analogous to passing the torch of leadership from one pastor to another within many of our churches. In that case, the vision from God is intended for the congregation—not the pastor—and the departure of one senior leader does not negate the vision, but simply transfers its leadership to another trusted person within His kingdom.
Vision Can Be Refined
Vision Can Be Refined
Joshua's experience also demonstrates that the vision can be refined in a certain time period. When Moses began to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into the wilderness, their primary vision was to leave one place for another and to experience God's glory and blessings in the process.
During Joshua's era, the vision added another dimension: cleansing the land through military conquest and settlement. Often the core of the vision remains unchanged, but the fine points of its implementation may well change in response to how God's people have responded to Him and His vision during the course of time. Indeed, the tenor of the vision during Joshua's leadership shifted from achieving freedom from oppression (see Exodus 3:7-10) to achieving rest in a new location (see Psalm 95:11).
As does every visionary leader, Joshua had to address major barriers to successfully implement the vision. First, he inherited not only a vision, but also a polytheistic group of followers. Second, he was the leader casting vision to a group of inveterate sinners. It wasn't enough that God had given evidence of Himself time after time after time through the directives to Moses and then to Joshua. Third, the deceitful behavior of Achan caused Israel to suffer an unexpected and unnecessary military setback on its way to ultimate victory (see Joshua 7:1-26).
George Barna, Turning Vision into Action (Gospel Light, 1996), 55.