How to Tell If Your Church Possesses God’s Empowering Vision


Congregational leaders are prone to declare they have vision when they do not.

This happens, at least in part, because they know it is important for congregations to have vision plus intentionality, so they focus on a spiritual and strategic journey that allows them to thrive with vitality and vibrancy.

Who wants to be the senior or solo pastor, staff person or lay leader in a visionless congregation? Who want to drift aimlessly around the catacombs of their facilities without an intimate knowledge of the discipleship health of their membership or the spiritual, emotional and physical health of their community?

We will assume the answer is no one. Yet actions scream louder than the eloquent forcefulness of words.

It is too easy for a pastor, staff member or the full staff team, a board or a committee of a congregation, or a leadership workshop or retreat to hastily craft a vision statement, push it out to the congregation and say: “See. Here is vision. What doth keep us from moving forward as a united movement of God?”

When I see this happen, as one who has dedicated his ministry to helping congregations, denominations and other Christian ministries focus on vision plus intentionality, I do not know whether to laugh or to cry.

I do know it is almost impossible to tell a congregation they really do not have vision when they think they do. So much misunderstanding about God’s empowering vision dominates the church world. With this in mind, here is my perspective on congregations and vision, plus intentionality.

Your congregation does not have God’s empowering vision unless …

First, you understand the source of vision is the Triune God. It is not the pastor, the staff team, the lay leadership, the latest book by a Christian ministry guru or a business guru, the vision of the another congregation you are seeking to emulate, or many other sources other than the Triune God. “May you be with the Source” should be your key mantra.

Second, you understand God is not seeking to impart vision only through the pastor to the congregation. The pastor is not some Old Testament prophet, forth-telling the word of God. Our Triune God is seeking to impart vision to the body—the congregation. The pastor does have a key role in being the voice of vision within the congregational community, but this never should be confused with being the source of vision.

Third, at least 21 percent of the average number of active, attending adults present on a typical Sunday for worship are captivated by God’s empowering vision for your congregation. In fact, they also participated in discerning and crafting the vision, whether it was an informal process or a narrative future story process.

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SOURCE: Baptist Standard
George Bullard

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