Vision is essential to a church. Vision informs the way in which we live out our common mission: to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. A church’s vision gives a snapshot moment in the broad scope and span of the unchanging mission of the Church. The vision will need to be renewed, adapted, and adjusted to the cultural context in which the congregation lives. Take for instance, an urban church that used to have lots of folks come to worship from the surrounding community. As the years pass, more and more people move out to the suburbs, but still want to drive in to their beautiful church. The worshippers no longer live in the community, and too often those who do live in the community don’t feel welcome within the walls of the church. The mission is still to make disciples, but the vision of how that mission is realized in the community where God has planted the church must be adapted to the changing neighborhood.
God-given visions guide congregations. We find guiding visions sprinkled throughout scripture. God caught Abraham’s attention with his vision for him in Genesis 12:1-3. God used Moses to communicate the vision for his people in Exodus 3:7-8 and Deuteronomy 8:7-10. It is possible that the “joy” set before Jesus while enduring the cross was the vision of his reunion with the Father in Heaven, or the picture of the joy of the redeemed as we enter salvation in Jesus name (Hebrews 12:2).
Vision gives us purpose and unifies our focus, encouraging us to work together toward a greater cause. If we aim at nothing, we will hit that target every time! We need to work together with a focus that keeps our energy flowing in the same direction if we are to accomplish anything good for Jesus Christ. “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16).
Not much happens when there is no vision. Not much was happening in Nehemiah’s day. Jerusalem lay in ruins, and no one was motivated to do anything about it. The people had no vision. (Nehemiah 1:3). Then along came Nehemiah with a vision from God to rebuild the gates and the walls of the city. The people caught Nehemiah’s excitement; they were energized and their spirits ignited! Understanding our purpose gives meaning to life and supplies the fuel that lights the fire in our hearts.
Nehemiah’s vison reminded the people of who they were, and reconnected them with God who had called them to be a light to the nations. We too are called to be a light – to demonstrate that being a part of Bethany Church means we are making a difference and are impacting the lives of people in our community and our world. We should be attempting and accomplishing great things for God! It is Jesus who said, “I assure you that whoever believes in me will do the works that I do. They will do even greater works than these because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12).
On October 1st we will gather for an all-church planning day as we begin to vision together and to seek God’s purpose for the people and ministries of Bethany Church. Mark your calendars!
Grace and Peace be with you.