On November 17 I talked with our congregation about vision. We've already established our mission for the church: "To reach the unchurched and disciple believers to be like Jesus". That mission is a focuser. If we want to do something we pass it through that filter to see if it is worth doing. If it doesn't reach the unchurched and doesn't disciple believers to be like Jesus, then we don't do it--it would be a waste of resources and only serve to sidetrack the church.
Vision is different. vision is a look at where we are going as a church. It is our intended destination. This vision is important because, as Lewis Carroll (the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland) said, "If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” And he was right. If we don't have any plans or goals as a church we will end up exactly where we intended on going: nowhere.
The first step in getting a vision for the church (or our own lives) is to Seek God's Will. What is HIs vision? Once we have found that through reading the Bible (His Letter to Us), prayer, and journalling we can make it our own. That is what I did over the last eight months, and on Sunday I shared that with you and gave you the opportunity to catch that vision and make it your own--and our congregation did! In case you weren't there, here it is:
Our desire is for us to be a church with one hand in the Kingdom and one hand in the community. A church that is undeniably Christian, but cares unconditionally for the souls of all God’s children. A church that accepts the unacceptable person and asks the Spirit to work within them. A church that is uncompromising in its values and in its reliance on God’s Holy Spirit. A church that has compassion on the sick and the needy, the widow and the orphan, the broken family and the broken individual. A church people can call home, a church body that people call family.
We desire to be a church where people undeniably experience God’s power through the gifts of His Holy Spirit being used by all God’s people. We desire to be a church where people grow in their faith with Christ; where inclusive groups meet together to teach and support one another and to help others within and without their group. A place where mentors seek out disciples and teach them what it means to be like Christ. A place where it it is not left to the church to attract people, but where the church body reaches their neighbours and friends for Christ and brings them in.
We desire to be a church that is always growing, and not just in numbers but in relationship with Jesus. A church that, through Christ’s blessings, reaches its fullest potential. A church where people love one another and love Christ; where young and old, rich and poor, believer and unbeliever commune together in God’s presence and come to know him and worship him together.
We desire God’s church. We desire to be a church that reaches the unchurched and strives to disciple believers to be like Jesus.
As I said on Sunday, whenever I look at that, I get excited--excited to see what God is going to do in our church and in our community!
"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." --Lewis Carroll
But it doesn't end there. Instead, this is where everything begins! God doesn't give us a vision for our church and then say "Have at it, I'll be over here." We need to be actively involved in Praying for God's Hand to Work in the Vision. Yes, he doesn't need to be invited--but he wants to be invited into our situation. And there's power in that.
But it still doesn't end there. We need to Act on the Vision God Has Given Us! God tends to work through his people--in other words, he generally works within the natural boundaries that he created 6,000 years ago. Sometimes he will let good things fail if the human vessels do not do their part (just look at Israel's blessings and curses in the Old Testament and you'll see what I mean).
So here is where we stand: will you accept this vision as your own? Will you commit to pray over it each day, or even once a week, and ask God's hand to be upon our church and our community? Will you commit to doing your part to reach those within and without our church and strive to accomplish the vision God has given us?
I hope that you will partner with us as we move forward as a body of believers in Christ Jesus.
May God bless all you richly and work through you to reach those who are unchurched in our community. I look forward to seeing you and speaking with you at church on Sunday!
--Pastor Stephen Valcourt
If you have questions or comments Pastor Stephen would love to address them. Feel free to leave a comment below, or on our Facebook Page!