Summary: After preaching this sermon, 21 people came forward at invitation.
A couple of weeks ago, in an elders meeting, I asked each elder to give me his vision for this church. I was surprised. Most churches never communicate their vision, hence most elders are unfocused as to any unified vision at all.
Each of our elders, however, had a vision and were pretty much in agreement on their visions. That is rare, but it is also a blessing to this church and a statement about our elders.
To paraphrase what they said, they said their visions were to let this church grow while feeding the people within the church the true word of God. Awesome – just plain awesome! And that vision is very much the same as my vision for this church: “To do whatever it takes to grow this church in numbers while remaining 100% biblical with each step we take.”
We must have a vision, both as individual Christians and as a church body. My individual vision is: “To do everything I can to let the Lord lead me in everything I do.”
All my life, I have heard about how we are supposed to follow Jesus. They are some great words, aren’t they? But even though that sounded so good, and I knew that was what I was supposed to do, I still followed me because those words were hollow to me; they had no meaning whatsoever. And they had no meaning because I had no vision.
PROVERBS 29:18 states,
‘Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.’
As individuals, if we do not have a vision, we shall perish. If a church has no vision, it too, shall perish.
Brother Wayne Duhon preached revival at this church a couple of weeks ago. During one of his sermons, he stated that some people like a big church and some people like a small church. I will be honest and tell you that, even though I have been working to grow Rolling Hills into a bigger church, and even though I have been in some churches that numbered in the thousands, my personal preference has always been to pastor a smaller church.
I should say that was my preference until Brother Duhon told us that by setting limits on what God wants for the church, we hinder the work God wants to do in the church. He said that no matter what size church you are in, you can only know about 35 people well anyway. So, why not have the larger church and still know your 35 people well?
We are talking about vision this evening: not the kind of vision that involves eyesight, and not the kind of vision that John the Great Revelator had, but your vision for yourself and your vision for your church.
I think we can break it down to three basic areas of vision.
1. THE NECESSITY OF HAVING A VISION
All of us understand that no company would ever survive in the business world without some kind of vision for its future. I used to work for General Electric during the 1970’s. I will say that GE is one company who has it down pat. Their vision states their desire to grow in influence and prosperity while never losing the need of the individual customer.
Bill Howard can tell you that a community plans years in advance of what they plan on doing, because everything they do must fit into the ultimate vision they have for its future. To do anything but plan for their vision, would ultimately render the community useless for its citizens.
But just as companies and communities need a vision so they can continue to operate effectively, churches also need a vision to operate as they should. The church must not limit themselves by just looking at where they are now and how they are effecting their communities, but to where they could be in the future and how much more they could effect their communities then, too.
When I graduated high school, I can remember they made such a big to-do about our class motto. They announced it in all the rooms every morning and they put big banners all over the school with that motto on them. And they started about a month before graduation doing all this, too.
Why did they do all that? They did all that because they wanted to instill that motto into our very lives; to make that motto a part of our very being. What was that motto? The motto simply said, “Shoot for the stars.”
If you take a .22 caliber rifle and aim it at a target, you will probably hit your target, right? But if you raise the rifle to where you shoot above the target you miss the target, right? But what else happens when you shoot above the target? Your bullet goes further, doesn’t it?