I guess most of us go to a church that has a vision statement. It might say something like “Gather, Go, Give, Grow!” or “A Hub and a resource of our village, and beyond, even internationally”! to slightly misquote the vision statements from my last two churches. I am someone who strongly believes in vision! I believe that without vision Churches lack direction and drive. However, I also believe that with vision comes the need for strategy. I have seen churches with a strong, God given, vision but with no strategy to go alongside it. They seem to think that because God has given them a vision He will bring that vision about, they just have to sit back and let it happen. I believe vision is a lot like prophesy. Prophesy speaks to our potential! If God give us a prophesy it tells us what we could achieve, but we still have to put in the hard word of getting to that place. For example if God gives us a prophesy that we will become Lawyer we still need to put in the leg work of applying to university and studying hard etc. If we have the attitude that God has told me I’m going to be a Lawyer therefore I don’t need to work we will fall short of what God is wanting in our lives. If we don;t put in the work, take the exams etc. we can’t look back and say that the prophesy is wrong as we have not worked to our potential.
The same is true for churches with a vision. It’s easy to believe that since God has spoken and given us a vision that it will automatically come about. However, with vision come responsibility and a call to action. God has give us the direction but we still need to plan the route and walk that path. God gives us vision to show us our potential we still need to put in the leg-work. We need to work out the strategy to get there. It’s nice to have a catchy tag-line but much better to have a vision that gets you out of bed in the morning and actually works. When looking at your church and their vision I think of it in terms of, if a stranger came to your church and got involved, after a couple of weeks would they be able to to have a stab at what your vision statement is? If they can’t, is your vision actually being carried out or is your church divorced from their vision?
Let’s have a look at a completely fictitious example. Let’s say God gives a church a vision of… “to feed the hungry, heal the sick. Preach the Good News and drive HGV aid convoys to Africa.” Now, what should the church do with that vision? They could sit back and thank God for the vision and Praise Him that they are preaching the Good News, but that’s only part of the vision. They could pray expectantly believing that God was going to provide them with a group of newly found HGV drivers along with doctors and nurses. They could, as many churches do, do nothing and just wait for God to fulfil it. Or they could sit down and prayerfully put together a strategy. How are we as a church going to feed the hungry, where is the need in our area, who have we got in our congregation, what resources have we got available, who do we know with a heart for these people, what else in our area might we plug into? Having answered those question the church now has a platform to move on from. They can put people and actions together and not only have a vision but start to fulfil it. There is massive potential in your church if only it would unearth it. We’re told to work out our faith in fear and trembling and the same is true of our visions. What do they really mean? How can we work towards fulfilling them? How can we bring them alive and make them the thing that gets people out of bed in the morning?
Some of us aren’t in a position to influence the leadership of their church but what about these questions… How could you help to fulfil the vision that your church has? Where could you get involved? What has God given you a heart for? Do you really understand the vision of the church and if not who could you turn to for clarification?