From early on in my almost 20 years of pastoring, people in the two churches I’ve served have asked me, “What is your vision?” Vision and strategy, it may surprise you to know, were not taught in seminary. Now, I’m not opposed to vision. I just think that most people are used to hearing it from the business world perspective, not the Church perspective. That is, what they think of when they hear the words, “vision” or “mission statement” or “strategy” fits better in the for-profit world than in the Church.
Several months ago, however (and I don’t even know why I did it), I quickly wrote something out and saved it in my files. I ran across it the other day. I probably wrote it in response to a frustrating conversation or upon hearing that someone left our church because “there was no vision.” With only one slight edit, this is what I wrote:
My vision for the people I pastor is that they come to know God in Christ so deeply, so thoroughly, so enthusiastically, that they move through every day in step with God’s Spirit and open to the opportunities God places before them each day.
My vision is that the fullness of God will so dwell in them that they might know true freedom, joy, peace, and a greater capacity to love; that the beauty, power, and depth of their knowledge of God would overflow, spill out into the world, and begin to transform all that it touches – in their everyday lives and relationships, and through the ministries of evangelism, outreach, discipleship, and community.
My vision is that they would so experience the mercy, grace, and goodness of God that they cannot resist sharing their experiences with others, their neighbors, and their enemies, in word and deed.
I am sure that I do not talk about this enough, of course. That’s on me. But this is my heart. And, to be honest, I think it is all God asks of us in terms of “vision” and “mission.” Jesus has already given us the best mission and vision we could ever need: love God, love our neighbors, and make disciples. The words above are my brief, spur of the moment attempt to state what that might look like in my own words.