Every great company, great church, great endeavor has an engine at its core; something that drives it, sustains it, pushes it forward and then upward. It’s called a vision. It’s like an engine that sets the thermostat around which all the other systems and processes of an organization revolve.
A vision for a company is what gathers the workers, the capital, and calls for innovative ideas to create something that’s never been before.
The vision of the church of Jesus Christ is somewhat different. It’s not just a vision for building a great church, vision for taking a city, vision for building a facility or buying land, or vision of collecting a great staff, or vision for writing a book or having a conference. If that’s what you think vision is, you’re going to fail miserably, or probably be out of the race very soon.
Here’s what we mean when we talk about vision and the revolution of the gospel, and the advancing of the church in the world.
1. Our vision starts with God. It’s a vision not only of the holiness of God, His distance, His magnificence, His immensity, but also a vision for the imminence of God, the closeness of God, the compassion of God, and the grace of God. It’s an overwhelming, mind-blowing experience. And it’s always the engine that drives every expression of the church of Jesus Christ. What’s your vision of God? What is God like? What does He want? How does He operate? What does He bless? How does He want to be served and represented?
2. Second is the vision of who we are and what God wants us to be. While every church has as its primary mission, the gospel, each and every church no matter how large or small, has its own particular DNA. If you don’t have a vision of who you are and what God wants you to be, it’s going to be very difficult to face the hardships ahead. What I am really talking about here is your particular teachable point of view, as it were, your elevator speech. What is it that makes your gathering, your movement, your ministry different from all the others to choose from.
To be sure it starts with your vision for Who God is and how He wants to be expressed in the world. It will be completed in the second stage of who you are, what your gifts and strengths are, what your interests and abilities are. I’m amazed at the number of churches that try to pursue a mission for which they have no affection or vision. Because that vision is detached from who they are and how they’re gifted.
3. The third part f our vision is the vision of where we are and whom we’re to reach. Again we’re all in very different places. I live in a community called Franklin, Tennessee. It’s a part of the metro area of Nashville, Tennessee. Above us is Brentwood, above that is Nashville proper, to the east of us is Murfreesboro, to the west is Spring Hill and a burgeoning population all around. My ministry field – white suburbia; a growing number of people moving from all parts of the world, right in the heart of where Nissan North America is moving and many other companies are relocating their headquarters. So the vision I have for Franklin, Brentwood, Nashville, Murfreesboro, Spring Hill is going to be very different. So in this third part of your vision, what is your vision for where you are? Do you know who you are to reach? Do you have a love and affection for them? Are you connected to them with your heart? You cannot effectively reach people you don’t love!!!!!
So a vision is not what you think. It’s more than you think; a vision of Who God is, a vision of who you are, and vision of where you are and how you’re going to reach those people. That’s your mission. Think about it long and hard.