Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Vision for Ministry (Part 1)

One of the key needs for ministries today is vision for what God might do with them in the future. However, vision can be an elusive concept, given over to overuse and dismissable as trite and fluffy. What is vision, really? Do leaders really have to have a knack for envisioning the future of their organizations?

The answer to the last question is, "yes. They do." However, those appointed to leadership often feel the strain of performing a superhuman function of seeing the future, knowing that the future cannot truly be known (apart from expecting Christ to return someday). Is leadership vision a superhuman task that must stress out those charged with leading? No. It's as simple as giving a picture of the destination for those on the journey.

Take, for example, a father fielding the question, "Daddy, what will Disney World be like when we get there?" Whether the father has been to Disney World in Orlando, FL before or if he did all his research online, his answer to the child in the back seat is offering a "vision" of the future.

Take another example: Alaska. I love Alaska. I been there multiple times, visiting Anchorage, Homer, Seward, Katmai National Forest, Prince William Sound and Good News Bay. I've been there in the summer when it didn't get darker than dusk, and the winter when it didn't get brighter than that either. If someone's thinking of visiting Alaska, have them talk to me. I'll convince them with word pictures of towering mountains, milky blue glaciers, brown bears and red salmon. I'll tell them of the wilderness just beyond the Anchorage city limits, the rushing rivers racing through deep valleys and moose that wander through the front yard. That's helping them have a "vision" for going.

Christian ministries need the same thing. "What will it be like when we get there?" Or "when we faithfully pursue our mission?" Vision is a picture of what the future likely could hold if the organization is faithful to the mission, and God's (in his sovereign rule) chooses to bless the work.

The mission for Woodcreek Bible Church is "To reach, train and send out the most loving and contagious followers of Christ in the world."

What could the future hold if we faithfully execute this mission, and God blesses the work? "Vision" will seek to answer this question. And that requires a whole other time...

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