Programs, Missions, or Vision? Where Do We Start? What Do We Do? How Do We Do It? Part 5


7 Reasons Why Vision Always Works

I could keep on going with this series of posts but I said it would have 5 parts, and I will be faithful to that promise.  And another reason is that the Spirit said it’s time to move on to other fields of thought.  Hopefully by now we have seen the folly of trying to bring vitality and sustainable growth to the local body of Christ through church programs.  Right now I’m thinking about Elisha, in particular, when a king thought he had Elisha surrounded and just as good as captured.

In 2 Kings 6 we read that the king of Aram was at war with Israel, but they weren’t doing so good.  Whatever plan or strategy they tried, Israel was always ready.  He thought he had a traitor on staff but it turns out it was God giving Vision to Elisha.  The logical thing was for this king to find where Elisha was at, surround that place and capture this pesky prophet.  He did and that morning one of Elisha’s young students went outside, saw the army of Aram and naturally panicked.  But look now only at Elisha’s words, but notice his calmness in verses 16-17 (from The Message):

He said, “Don’t worry about it—there are more on our side than on their side.”  Then Elisha prayed, “O God, open his eyes and let him see.”  The eyes of the young man were opened and he saw. A wonder! The whole mountainside full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha!

Allow me now to share with you why I am totally convinced why Vision trumps everything else when it comes to the vitality and sustainable growth of the local Body of Christ.

1.  It’s Out Of Our Hands And In The Hands Of God

Every problem in every local church can trace its roots to this single issue.  We have put the weight of the world on our shoulders and the solution in our hands.  And often times it is about control–whether it’s the pastor or the indigenous leaders.  For some reason we feel safer if we are in control.  But there will always be challenges to our control that will defeat us.  But there is NO challenge to the rule and authority of God.  Satan tries to bluff us with empty threats.  Doubt me?  Then remember that Cross and remember that empty grave.

2.  It Will Place Us Right In The Middle Of The Enemy’s Territory

When Jesus became one of us, He left His Home Base to storm the territory of the Enemy to take back what was stolen from Him.  What the Enemy took from Him was US!  Jesus stormed in to take back the ones who bear His Image by healing and restoring us back to that image.  God’s Vision is always about His Mission, to restore us from the mess that comes from living in the Enemy’s stolen Kingdom.  It will no longer be enough to supply money and hire staff to do the work that God has called all of us to do.  That work isn’t about calling people sinners and abominations, but helping them be restored by the hands on work of seeking out and helping the least, the last and the lost find the Life they are created to experience.  There are no spectators in God’s Vision, only warriors who storm the gates of hell to take back what was stolen from our Heavenly Father!

3.  It Will Teach Us To Trust God

One of the ways Vision teaches us to trust God is that it gets us out of our comfort zones.  The greatest work of the Enemy isn’t about getting us to hate God.  The Enemy’s greatest work is to get us comfortable.  Maybe you heard about a science experiment about a frog and hot water.  Place a frog in hot water and it will immediately jump out.  Place that same frog in room temperature water and then slowly raise the temperature until it boils, it will stay there until it dies.  Some people think God wants them to be comfortable in life, and that, my friends, is a lie straight from the depths of hell itself.  Only in the battle can we learn how to trust God.  Our trust in God isn’t measured in how we sit in the pew every Sunday, but how we serve our communities Monday through Saturday.

4.  It Will First Change Us Before It Changes Our Culture And Community

The first step to changing our world starts with changing us.  If we are not transformed by the Truth of God’s Grace we cannot expect our communities nor our culture to change.  God does not send us out into this battle unprepared and unequipped.  Soldiers in our military go through extensive training and constant training before they are sent to the battlefield.  Vision is about transforming lives and the very first life that is transformed is our own.  Enough said!

5.  It Will Align Our Priorities

We all said that the local church exists to “save” the lost.  But often our resources are aligned to save the institution.  When Vision is discovered and cast, the question will NOT be “Can we afford to do this?”  The question will always be, “How can we not do it?”  It creates the right hierarchy where people and resources are moving in unison with what God is doing.  In other words, our words and actions match and the Kingdom of God comes on earth as it is in Heaven.

 6.  It Will Bring Vitality To Our “Programs”

Vision redefines “programs” from what we do, to what God IS Doing!  I prefer changing the term from “programs” to “Missions”!  Suddenly all the things we do will not be about preserving us but transforming our communities, and that’s a great thing!  When the focus is on programs (stuff we do) admit it, it’s often a struggle to keep it going and keep it funded.  And that puts a burden on staff, volunteers and resources.  But when Vision is the focus, all the things we do comes alive because we aren’t doing them for us, but for the least, the last and the lost.

7.  It Will Prune The Dead Branches

When the Vision is finally discovered and cast, do not expect 100% buy in and celebration.  I shared last Sunday with the Vision Team that once the Vision is clearly cast and embraced, there will be some who will leave our church because they simply do not like the Vision.  And I also told them that is OK and that we should allow them to leave with grace and dignity and pray that they will find God’s Vision for their life.  I am not saying I want to see people leave.  I would rather that they stay and allow the Vision to work in and through their lives.  But in most churches, there will be those who are more concerned about the institution than they are about The Mission.  When The Mission of God becomes the drive and force, some will leave.  But remember, pruning always leads to greater growth.

So, what other reasons do you see on why The Vision works to bring vitality and sustainable growth?  Please share in the comments section.

And remember…

Love God with all your heart, love others the way Jesus loves you, and make sure all the glory goes to Him!

Randy Burbank, a Kingdom Pastor