The Locus of Vision (part three)
One reason there is so little courage in American churches is there’s so little vision.
When Jesus shared his vision, which he did a lot, what was his focus?
- His followers’ health, wealth, and satisfaction?
- The happy and harmonious community they’d become together?
- How popular, successful, and resource-rich his ministry empire would soon be?
His focus was his Father’s Kingdom coming and growing in the lives and hearts of women and men. As it did, a new way of living would emerge. Willingly submitted to God’s will and ways. Lives rich in love, and forgiveness, and mercy, and trust. Risking greatly for the sake of that Kingdom way of life. And, he showed, with great clarity, how it differed from the accepted religious assumptions of that day.
This time of year, pastors roll out their annual “Vision Message”. “We’ll launch this ministry.” “Expand that program.” “Enlarge this other thing.” “Attract this many more people…”
I want us to become “A”, to have “B”, to enjoy “C”, to be known for “D”.
To have a vision clear enough and compelling enough to capture the hearts of courageous world-changers, our vision can’t be focused on us and our own.
The locus of vision is the impact we’re trusting God to make out there, in society, because of the influence of God’s Kingdom coming.
The first question is this: Who has your congregation been assembled to bless, heal, liberate, rescue, strengthen, or lift, as God’s presence, person, and power encounters their lives?
A friend’s congregation has several working in law enforcement. So, they bring God’s Kingdom to prison guards. Another, to their county’s Sheriffs.
Another’s congregation is elderly, so they’ve adopted a senior center where they presence the gospel of Christ almost every day.
Others have young families, so they regularly serve at a preschool.
The second question: When God’s Kingdom comes, what wrongs will be righted, what oppression will be relieved, what bonds be broken in their lives?
For the correctional officers it’s appreciation, kindness, value, and hope.
For residents and staff at the care center it is connection, love, companionship, meaning.
For preschool parents it’s practical assistance, a listening ear, kindness and concern.
It’s often said: people don’t care how much you know, ‘til they know how much you care.
Churches across America are discovering how true this is. People respond to genuine love and care with surprise, then gratitude, later curiosity, and finally openness. Openness to the One who motivates people to love and serve with no strings attached.
My CRM Team observes this transformation in hundreds of lives as congregations traverse the Missional Pathway.
The Pathway is the “how”.
A big, bold, community-impacting vision is the “why”.
Vision part three.doc