The Character of Vision
When I was serving the United Methodist Church, every year the conference, similar to a presbytery, would ask every church.” What are your plans for ministry next year?”
I always choked when I read this. I’ll tell you why.
Because The Bible teaches from front to back, God has a plan for
1) every person
2) every church
3) every community
4) every nation
and the Lord God Almighty says, “Let ME show MY vision to you! I’ll reveal it to you when I want and when I need it in just the perfect time — like when Jesus came to earth.”
The Father says, “It’s TIME when I say, ‘Let’s go.’”
The common thing, the flesh thing that we tend to say is— “Here is MY plan, Lord,” or “Our church’s plan is ( you can fill in the blank)__________, and Lord we want you to bless it.”
That is when the Holy Spirit gets silent. The “flesh thing” turns our backs to God.
Vital churches listen for the vision and plans of God. They pray on those plans to carry them out. Vision through The Holy Spirit creates vitality for those churches who listen and who wait and do not create their own plans. They cast their plans on the throne of God.
1Corinthians 1:23, one of my favorite scriptures says, “The most foolish thought of God is wiser than the wisest thought of the wisest person on earth.”
There are two kinds of vision.
1) Human vision
2) God’s vision
Human vision is mentioned in Proverbs 29:15 “Where there is no vision the people perish.”
Human vision is also mentioned in Isaiah 28:19 “[the people] erred in vision.” They confused human vision with God’s vision—human plans for God’s plans.
Listen, When God implants His vision to believers and churches, then the Holy Sprit empowers us.
Ophthalmologists implant lenses into people’s eyes to give them clear vision. The Holy Spirit implants His designs, plans, purposes for The Kingdom into the faithful members’ and leaders’
spirits to give them a clear vision to see God’s present and God’s future. But as Henry Blackaby says, “He only gives you 1 step at a time.”
The Lord will give His vision to His own, who have fully surrendered their own interests and ambitions to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
When I first surrendered my ambitions for Christ’s interests for me there was this tremendous release. Yet, some 30 years later, I am still finding areas in myself that need to be surrendered. And there are some that I have had victory over, then The Holy Spirit shows me that they have snuck back in again. Then I must surrender again.
I love God’s vision. I have taught myself to dislike my own vision and not to trust it. And I need to continue to pray for infinite patience —waiting for God’s vision, God’s understanding and God’s wisdom.
The #1 prayer for all church staff and church leaders is for faith and patience. Meaning God will reveal, through The Holy Spirit what He wants to reveal in His timing and in His way. Our expectation is to wait patiently and carry on what we are doing until He brings the next vision for whatever vision He has for us.
The purpose for vision is to create a future. A future that Jesus Christ wants for His Kingdom—with a faithful church in that Kingdom.
A vision has no power or force or impact unless the vision spreads through the leaders and into the body of believers.
1Samuel 3:1 tells us, “ …In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions.” That time in history was a mess. Few to none were looking for the direction of God in their lives, in their communities in their nation—like a rider on a horse without reigns riding through life. We never get the next vision until the people buy into the first vision. When we throw in our own ideas with God’s vision, He backs off.
Faith and patience is the 1st prayer. The 2nd is obedience to the vision God gives. Obedience brings power of the Holy Spirit breathed vision.
As an example, our family has a cottage. For 2 years we wanted to get running water into it. There are only a few properties within 1/8th of a mile of us, but all have this thick red water that they have to have treated. We considered several ideas, but none were within our reach financially or practically. Then one day as I was praying about this I heard God Say, “Dig the well. The water will be clear. It will be a blessing to many.” And God’s word held true.
God’s vision for churches is about making a church in God’s image for that church. To grow and be a blessing to many.
George Barna, the #1 pollster for churches says, “ Never think that your church can assume the same vision as another church.”
Every church is given its own vision. Whatever that vision is —that is our present mission.
On the other hand, never measure another church by what we have been given.
Just a few of the ministry visions the Lord has given to us in the past 21/2 years…
1) Our Deacons now provide for people who don’t have rides to worship.
2) Our deacons now visit shut ins.
3) Pastor Jack has an established Disciple Bible Study Group
4) I have regular Bible study groups
5) Our new Grace Notes and Teen Grace Notes ministry which students, age 4-17 representing the community, conducted by our organist Sarah, sing for for our worship on a regular basis.
6) A personal vision for our church, is one where Carol and I fast and pray for 60 worshipers in regular attendance every Sunday. And we are getting close to that 60.
As members of this morning’s worship I’m asking you to pray for God’s continued vision for our church so we don’t ever have a 1 Samuel 3 problem. And that we will be faithful to follow into the vision God gives us.
To test a vision—It will be an urging of the Holy Spirit you cannot deny, that you cannot let go of and it will not let go of you. Especially when you have no idea how it will get carried out. In Acts 9 the Lord called out to Ananias in a vision. The Lord told him to go to Saul who had been persecuting Christians with “ murderous threats .” Ananias had no idea how this vision was going to work out, but he carried it out and “Saul” became “Paul”, a powerful disciple of Christ.
Who could have imagined the Implications that God the Father had in His vision for Jesus His Son going to the cross? And 2,000 years later from that vision and Jesus carrying it out with the blood of His body, we are here today as God’s Family.
Jesus is Lord!