In the School of Leadership with Moses: breadth of vision

In my 15 years of leadership at Starbucks, I’ve found that increased responsibilities of leadership require greater breadth of vision. In order for leaders to develop those who follow them, the leader must see how all the moving pieces fit together towards the long-term mission. I’ve found the governing structure of Starbucks to be very similar to what I’ve learned about Episcopacy. Affectionately dubbed St. Arbucks, my mission field and my flock bear a striking resemblance to Anglican governance, especially looking at the relationship between vision and leadership.

The barista must be laser-focused on the task at hand and link each action to the greater mission, but they may set aside thoughts on the long-term impact of those actions. The barista is your lay-leadership serving the community. The supervisor is guiding those baristas with a wider view of how each encounter builds into the plan for the day. The increased responsibility to lead demands that the leaders step back from the moment to build a chain of moments building to a vision of success for the whole day. The supervisors are the Staff, Vestry, and Clergy in our model. They must understand how daily actions and decisions fit into the vision for the local church.

Bishop Meditations (1)

“Our overseer must set the bar of success as high as the Spirit leads and then empower the leadership of this diocese to reach that bar, shaping the people of God to enter into the promised land of God’s Kingdom come. The bishop’s vision must see the terrain ahead into which we are being led. Terrain filled with obstacles, challenges, blessings, setbacks, grace, hope, charity, milk and honey, and giants! This terrain is theological, socio-political, cultural. It is full of people with differing capacities for and understandings of Jesus’ own covenant vision. It is full of us stubborn and stiff-necked people who need to be led through the wilderness of our own hearts as much as the trials and tribulations that beset us from idolatrous armies encamped where we are to bring the blessings of the host of heaven.”

Meanwhile, the store manager is overseeing this dynamic from an even wider vantage point, providing the resources for success and cultivating an atmosphere where these moments-building-into-days can culminate in a team who embodies the vision. The store manager must have a breadth of vision that pieces together the days into a culture captivated by the mission. This store manager is the rector who is shepherding a specific flock under the oversight of the bishop, called the district manager. The store manager is casting the vision on a local level that the district manager has cast for a district. Store managers and rectors are accountable to their district managers and bishops and ought to seek to align that local vision with the greater scope of vision that has been handed down.

Here is where the bishop comes in. The bishop must not only cast a vision for the diocese, but prepare the way for success and empower local leadership to bring that vision to life in their contexts without compromising that vision. Like Moses, the bishop must see the promises of God for his people and meet continually with the LORD in order to cast that vision clearly, with passion, and with compassion, holding leaders accountable for the results.

Moses was given the vision of the promised land and commissioned by the LORD to lead the Hebrew people into that vision. He had to hold on to this vision despite a constant march of setbacks, whether the grumbling of the people who lost sight of the vision or his own battle against the seeming futility of the mission. Even though Moses asked God to smite him rather than continue this mission (Nm. 11:15), he ultimately knew the LORD and the power of his Word and remembered his covenant vision. Even though Moses, through his own fault, knew that not only would he never enter that promised land but neither would his whole generation, he remembered the covenant vision of God and faithfully recast that vision to the next generation!

Our next bishop must have this breadth of vision and passion for God’s covenant promise and apply that to the Anglican Diocese of the Southwest. We need a leader who can see our destination and see our churches with that elevated vision just as Moses continually met with the LORD up the mountain. Not only see these things, but see how they can work together and be held accountable to that vision so that this diocese can embody the commission to make disciples of all nations!

Our overseer must set the bar of success as high as the Spirit leads and then empower the leadership of this diocese to reach that bar, shaping the people of God to enter into the promised land of God’s Kingdom come. The bishop’s vision must see the terrain ahead into which we are being led. Terrain filled with obstacles, challenges, blessings, setbacks, grace, hope, charity, milk and honey, and giants! This terrain is theological, socio-political, cultural. It is full of people with differing capacities for and understandings of Jesus’ own covenant vision. It is full of us stubborn and stiff-necked people who need to be led through the wilderness of our own hearts as much as the trials and tribulations that beset us from idolatrous armies encamped where we are to bring the blessings of the host of heaven.

Our next bishop must be a navigator with eyes fixed on the covenant promises that find their fulfillment in Jesus, and this bishop must be strong in the LORD and the power of his might, meeting constantly with God as with a dear friend, holding us all accountable to the grand vision that stretches us all to look like the body of Christ alive and active in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring the Father’s Kingdom to the kingdoms of this world. May we have eyes to see the glory of the LORD in the land of the living (Ps. 27:13).

IMG_20200708_145747443

Rev. Gregory Pfeifer

Co-vocational Church Planter & Starbucks Manager

Greg, an ADSW priest, is church planting in Albuquerque with his wife, Noel, and their 3 year old son. He loves feeding people and creating space for their growth and healing. Greg watches cooking shows to relax, loves singing together, playing board games, and GMing role-playing games.

1 reply added

Leave your comment