Summary: Churches that have it have a God-given, God-inspired vision.
SERIES: IT: Finding It, Keeping It, and Sharing It
(freely adapted from Craig Groeschel’s It: How Churches and Leader Can Get it and Keep it)
“YOU CAN CLEARLY SEE IT”
Last week, we started a new series called, “IT: Finding It, Keeping It, and Sharing It.” The first message was called, “What Is It?” We defined it this way – “It is what God does through a rare combination of certain qualities found in his people.” Those qualities are: 1. A passion for his presence 2. A deep craving to reach the lost 3. Sincere integrity 4. Spirit-filled faith 5. Down-to-earth humility 6. Brokenness.
One important thing about it is that there are certain qualities found in churches that have it. Let me explain it this way. I’m a football fan. I like to watch football and I used to love to play football. I was pretty good at it. I like talking about football. One of the questions people ask is, “What makes for a great football team?” It’s a question that’s been debated many times.
Some might say that a great coach is the essential key to a winning football team. Having a great coach certainly helps but if there are not some talented players on the team, the coach can only do so much.
Another person might argue that a star quarterback is what makes a successful football team. And a star quarterback does make a difference. But without a good offensive line, no quarterback will ever have time to do his job efficiently.
Someone else might say that outstanding defense wins games. An outstanding defense is important. But, the team still needs to put points on the board to win.
Every successful team wins in different ways. Some have a strong running game and others a great passing game. Some have the best defensive lineup. Whatever the strategy, winning teams have a few common ingredients. They have drive and desire. The players and coaches all have a strong work ethic. They share a good chemistry and they learn to win together.
The same thing is true in churches. Not every church can achieve it the same way. It would be foolish to try. Not every church will have a star preacher or the greatest worship team. Not every church can have a beautiful building. Not every church can bus in hundreds of kids to their youth ministry events or host a large VBS. But every church can develop some consistent qualities that contribute to it. Over the next several weeks, we’re going to look at these qualities and work on developing them in our congregation.
This message is about – uh – vision. Yeah, that’s it. Vision. What can I tell you about vision? Well…. Hm…. Where was I? Oh, that’s right – vision. What do I want to say next? I sure hope this message communicates what we need to hear. So, we’re back to vision…
Are you still listening? I hope so. You know, trying to preach a sermon with no direction – no vision for its purpose – doesn’t work very well. If a sermon did not have direction, it would be silly to stand up and preach it. And think how foolish it would be to lead a church without vision.
DETERMINE THE VISION
There is a Hebrew word that describes what I’m talking about. It’s chazown. It’s utilized 34 times in the Old Testament. The best-known verse that uses this word is Prov. 29:18. Listen to how it’s utilized in several different translations. (NIV) “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.” (KJV) “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (NLT) “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.” (NRSV) “Where there is no prophecy, the people cast off restraint.”
No matter how you translate it (vision, revelation, divine guidance), without it God’s people will be confused, scattered, unfocused, and easily distracted. Without a God-given vision, our church will never have it. And unfortunately, this is how many churches and Christian organization function: visionless and without it.
Have you ever driven a car that had its wheels out of alignment? Even though you try to keep the car in the middle of the road, it pulls to one side. It’s a constant struggle to keep traveling in the direction you want to go. And over time, it can cause major problems with your vehicle. The tires wear out. And much worse, the poorly aimed wheels could pull you off the road and into a crash.
People in a church with no vision are like are a car with the wheels out of alignment. Without vision alignment, the people are busy doing something. They’re driving along doing church, but without any direction and are easily pulled off center. They’re moving but have no destination in mind.