The Vision Thing – Part 2: From God, Aligned Words and Actions
Vision. You may want to ask, “Is it really Biblical? It seems a bit forced. It’s a business principle projected onto the church.” I could see where one might say that. But let’s look again at vision from the “preferred future” definition.
What was and is God’s preferred future? I would contend that it begins after the fall with God’s words to the serpent in Genesis 3:14-15. God desires to crush the head of the serpent through the offspring of the woman and redeem the world. Didn’t God repeat that “vision” throughout the Old Testament that there would be a Savior who would save the world? It was even extended to the gentiles repeatedly in the Old Testament. Jesus reminded His hearers of this in Luke 4 in Nazareth when he referenced Elijah and the widow of Zarephath and then Elisha with Naaman the Syrian. The “Missio Dei” was for God to redeem mankind through the sending of His Son. Then as it came to fulfillment in Jesus Christ, the New Testament continued this preferred future of redemption through the great commission from Matthew 28. It sure seems like God’s vision is for us to join Him in the Missio Dei.
The often quoted “where there is no vision, the people perish” from Proverbs 29, while probably not a direct argument for congregational vision statements does in fact support the desire of God to save the world. In this verse the word “vision” can also be translated, “revelation” and thus makes the point that without a revelation - of the savior, of the Gospel of grace in Jesus Christ, the people will indeed perish for eternity!
So what is your vision for ministry? Is it in alignment with God’s who desires “all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4)? You may quickly say that it does. Look again. What do you hear with your ears and what do you see with your eyes? What is the evidence?
Many churches evidence an internal focus that seeks to serve the saved. A pastor’s time can be tracked and when honestly reviewed, little is admittedly directed toward those who do not yet know Jesus. Churches begin to shrink and the natural tendency is to circle the wagons and preserve what we’ve got. Internal scuffles divert our attention to calming the strife and appeasing the saved. One can point to the preaching and teaching and administering the sacraments. One can point to events where one has been responsive to those who come to you with needs and inquiries about Christ. Yet in all honesty this is merely good pastoral practice, it is not externally focused ministry that is intentionally, in word and deed by the pastor and the congregation actively working to “seek and to save the lost” as Jesus did (Luke 19:10).
What is your default vision?
Is your vision in alignment with God’s desire to redeem the world in Christ?
What is the evidence that you are or are not in alignment?
What will you change? When? How? What will get in the way? How will you respond? What does accountability look like for you?
The Vision Thing – Part 2