Summary: The first step in a vision for Church Growth is a vital prayer life among its members.
“The Vision of Passionate Prayer”
Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Florida in the summer of 1974. Disneyland in Anaheim, California had been in operation already for almost 20 years. Disney was a 47 year old man, already a successful film producer, director, animator, and entrepreneur when he began to work on his ideas of a Magic Kingdom. He had a dream of having a magical park where families could go with their children to have clean fun. World War II stopped the building of the park but not the dreams in Walt’s mind. All that six year delay accomplished was to expand the dream from an 8 acre park to an 165 acre park which now grosses $2.1 billion through the combined five world magical parks. After Disney passed away Mrs. Disney was sitting beside Walter Cronkite at the opening of Walt Disney World in Florida.. Cronkite wanted to say just the right thing to Mrs. Disney, so he leaned over to her and said, “Wouldn’t it be great if Walt were here to see this today.” Mrs. Disney wisely replied, “If Walt had not first seen this you would not be seeing it today.”
Isn’t it strange how the world has so much vision for the temporal things of life and the church is struggling to see just a little bit of how to build the kingdom of God on earth? Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Wouldn’t it be sad to start a new church and that church die within two or three years because of a lack of vision? That is not going to happen to Aletheia. By the grace of God we will not let that happen. Three other churches started in this building right here where we are meeting and they no longer exist. Did you know that? That ought to shock you and shake you.
As I pondered this past Friday night the message that God was laying on my heart for this day I began to hear from the Lord about this thing of having a vision. I was reminded of the Lord three things: 1) A pastor without vision is a blind pastor; He is not in touch with God or his motives for ministry are extremely questionable. 2) A people who won’t follow a vision are a threat to church growth. They are like cancer in the body. It is only a matter of time without treatment till the body will die. 3) A vision without pursuit of its goals is an hallucination. Churches that sit still and think that prosperity, growth, and blessing will fall out of the sky just because they meet together need to have their heads examined. They’re befuddled in the worst sort of way. It is my responsibility as the pastor to hear and share the vision of God with you. I cannot expect you to have any greater vision for God’s work than I have. That is why the Bible calls the pastor in the Bible, the Overseer. Peter says, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.” It is my job to take the oversight. I am called of God to see more than you perhaps see from the Lord and to share that with you as God’s appointed leader. That does not make me any better than you. It just means I have a different calling than you and a different responsibility. Paul preaches in Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” That word “overseers’ is the Greek word “episkopos” which literally means to scope over, to look over, to be the Christian officer who is in charge over the church to lead that church in the ways and directions of God. If I don’t do that I will answer to God. If you don’t follow that, you will answer to God. It’s that simple. If we don’t do it we need not expect to have much of a church or any church in a short while. God blesses the churches that follow Heavenly vision. God lets a church die that doesn’t. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
I could not think of any part of these vision sermons to your heart that would take precedence over The Vision of Passionate Prayer. Prayer is the single most important thing in obtaining the favor of God on your church. Prayer is the match that lights the dynamite of church growth. Prayer is not just a good option for building a dynamic church. Prayer is the only option for seeing the mighty move of God on your church. A church without a strong prayer base is a church without a future. I want to talk seriously with you about that reality this morning as we share three symptoms of the passion for prayer. How do you know when you really have a passion for prayer?