If I could go back and start our church again, knowing what I know now, there are many things I would do differently. However, taking the time that we did to discover God’s vision for our church would not be one of them.
It is critical for every church — new or existing — to have a God-sized vision of what He wants to uniquely do through them. However, the reality is that most churches have not communicated a vision for what God wants to do in their church.
In a Christianity Today article, George Barna shared what he discovered about vision in the local church:
“When we asked these pastors, ‘Can you articulate God’s vision for the ministry of your church?’ we found that roughly 90 percent of them could articulate a basic definition of ministry. But only 2 percent could articulate the vision for their church. I’m not saying the other 98 percent of pastors are not capable of articulating vision; I’m saying that to this point they haven’t. Given the centrality and the significance of vision, that’s one reason so many pastors are ineffective; they don’t know where they’re going.”
Barna’s quote underscores the fact that we have a shortage of vision in the American church.
God is a visionary God, and He has a vision for every local church. My passion is to help planters discover and implement the vision that God has for their church. No one is more visionary than God. He wrote the book of Revelation to give the global church a vision of where He is leading us. Revelation chapters 21 and 22 are two of my favorite chapters in the Bible because they represent God’s ultimate vision for the church globally and for me personally.
God has placed your church in your community at this moment in history to do something unique and beautiful for His glory.
The Great Commission of Jesus in Matthew 28 gives me a mission to obey, but the vision of God at the end of the Bible gives me a future to strive for.
Yes, God has a vision for His global church. But what about your local church? Does God have specific future plans for your church here and now? Does He have a vision for the church you serve in? In Esther 4:14, Mordecai said it best: “Who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
God had a unique vision for Esther and her people in that unique time in history and I believe He also has a unique vision for the people of your church as well. In Acts 17:26, Paul said, “God began by making one person, and from him came all the different people who live everywhere in the world. God decided exactly when and where they must live” (NCV).
Paul also used the analogy of the human body in 1 Corinthians 12:18 when he said, “But in fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”
The Bible teaches that God has determined that everyone in your church would be born in this unique moment in history, live in their unique place, and be part of your unique local church for a very specific purpose. God has placed your church in your community at this moment in history to do something unique and beautiful for His glory.
Wouldn’t it be a shame if we, as the leaders of His church, do not take the time to discover what that purpose is?
Each local church should have a unique vision within God’s grand vision for the global church because God has placed each local church in their community for such a time as this.