Vision: “the faculty or state of being able to see” and “the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom.”
One of the topics of conversation that has buzzed around our household significantly over the last two years has been the topic of vision. We’ve approached it from every angle.. what it is, what is isn’t, is it good, is it bad, how you form it, where it comes from, ad infinitum etc.
We maintain that vision is absolutely necessary– that a clear idea of direction and method is necessary for the growing and successfully functioning minister/ministry. It does not inhibit being led by the Spirit but is a result of it. The direction will inform the method, but it doesn’t work the other way around– that’s how you build up religion and create a slow death of your ministry. To develop vision, the general answer you’ll need to provide is to the statement: “describe the final product/fruit that will be produced through such and such ministry”.
Per our discussions… and convictions… here is what vision is not:
-A haphazard thing— it’s not… or rather ought not to be… something that is produced because one thinks “oh… we probably need a vision statement”. It’s not a pretty collage of words because we want to justify what we’re doing or because we want to impress or excite people with what we’re doing.
-A Self-decided thing— If we live by faith, walk by faith, walk with the Lord, then we do not walk by our own understanding or reasoning. Vision, because it is such an all-encompassing thing like sight, ought first to come from the Lord. We do not decide. We pray, ask, wait and listen. We experience His guiding, in whatever way He guides you… since we’re all different. But it will certainly reflect and clearly exemplify and in no way contradict or preferentially interpret Scripture.
-It’s not about what you can accomplish. Name one time in the Bible that the Lord gave someone a task that they could do on their own. … … Right?And if it were all about what you could do, you’d get all the glory.
So, vision is purposeful and is about glorifying God. It ought to be from the Lord and it will certainly be bigger than what you can accomplish on your own or by yourself.
Here’s what vision does:
-It informs your decisions. If God has called you or has given you vision, then you’ll make the practical decisions that will keep you focused on the path God is leading you on. For example, the apostles delegated work in Acts 6 because they knew they were to dedicate themselves to the Word and to prayer (v.4). Granted, He does things that are counter-intuitive at times. I knew that God was eventually calling me to Asia, but I felt His leading for missions training in Mexico. What came of that? Well, I married a Hispanic man (after I ended up in Asia, by the way). He wanted to give me tools and experience that I’d need for the future.
-It motivates you (and others) to give your best. As a leader, not having a clear vision with a focus on glorifying and obeying and walking with our God to a specified destination together, you will- at best- produce a bunch of apathetic, but sincere, people… or initially zealous, but eventually discouraged people.
-It keeps you from putzing around. God is a God of plans. He’s always had a plan, He’s always doing things. We don’t know it all, but He usually gives people clues as to what He’s doing in the Bible. We are to have ears to hear and be wise as to what the Lord is doing. Vision from the Lord will keep us from idleness.
Vision is not a mystical thing. Let’s go back to the first definition of vision: “the faculty or state of being able to see”. That’s pretty down to earth, right? Vision is sight. Here, it’s seeing with the eyes of faith. Not what you want to see– that’s called delusion. But it’s what God wants to see, how He intends things to be.
I think this can be found all over Scripture. There’s more I’ll post on this in the future, but at the moment, Ephesians 4:11-16 comes to mind. It’s full of all these things talked about here– description of the final fruit, method, function, destination, what it’s not, etc.
So… if you’re looking for vision, for what the Lord has for you and what the Lord has for your life, ministry, marriage, parenting etc…. I’d recommend the following course of action:
- “What does the final product/fruit look like?” Propose this question to the Lord. Pray. Wait. Listen. Search the Scriptures. Rinse and Repeat. Don’t rush.
- As so many were instructed to do in the Scriptures: write down the vision.
- Submit it to the Lord and repeat step 1.
- Ask the Lord, “Ok, Lord, how are we going to get there?” and “What do you want me to do/how am I to obey your voice?”
- Trust the Lord.
- Give it your all. Be faithful in everything.