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Understanding Vision

You have heard the phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  When it comes to vision that is very true.  While “mission” is what we are called to do, “vision” is our best attempt to paint a picture of what fulfilling the mission in our local context will look like.    Vision pictures the end of a ministry at the beginning.  It is intended to inspire, motivate, and energize a team toward a common goal. Vision dispels fear of the future with confident clarity of what can be.  A good question to begin forming a vision is to ask, “Where do you see our ministry in 5 to 7 years?”  More importantly, “Where is God taking us in the next 5-7 years?”  Vision therefore is not looking backwards with the longing of capturing the ‘good ole days,’ but is purposely future oriented.  It is shaped by a holy discontent with the status quo and moves toward what can be. While the mission Jesus gave his church never changes, vision is simply describing how that mission is fleshed out in our local context, with the people God has assembled in our local congregation. That will change from year-to-year.  Vision is birthed by much prayer, diligent research and clarity of what the true mission of the church is. It is the convergence of the church’s mission, the leaders’ passion, and community need.  Vision is developed by asking, “How can our church take the unique gifts, talents and resources of our people to reach the unique community that surrounded us?”  When communicated well, vision becomes the beautiful travel brochure that inspires us to jump on board and take part of the wonderful journey the Lord has called us to travel together. Henry Blackaby encouraged us years ago. “Find out where God is working and join “…him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think according to the power at work in us.” – Eph. 3:20  That is vision!  – Dr. Gary Mathes