What is Your Vision?
Vision is a critical issue for leaders, and no leader of any consequence can be without one. However, our idea of what constitutes vision may be lacking. People often ask me about my vision. Of course the answers typically expected are numeric in nature or involve a desired effect.
Many expect that a vision must reach ‘such and such’ a number or cause ‘this or that’ effect. The question in and of itself is not a bad one, but often stems from misguided motivations. Why is our vision always limited to things we understand? Is it possible to pursue what we have never seen and still call it vision? If so, how do we answer the question?
In the past these queries have caught me off-guard because I know most people anticipate a certain kind of answer, a kind that by its very nature limits vision. Like many others I do have a vision, but what I am longing for cannot be measured by traditional quantitative means. Rather than being based upon growth in church numbers or other tangible goals of a program, my vision involves producing a certain quality of believer not yet seen in our generations. But how does one really define a ‘better kind of Christian’?
I am anticipating a quality of Christian that can only be defined as ‘having the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’. (Ephesians 4:13) I may not definitively know how we get there, but it is obvious when we have not yet arrived. So when asked about my vision I find the range of responses typically expected woefully inadequate.
The overwhelming sense I often get when people ask the ‘vision question’ is one of impatience. It is like being on vacation with the kids when they ask that proverbial question: “Are we there yet?” Again, the question is not in itself evil, however, it may be a reflection of immaturity. How does one satisfactorily answer when we have hardly begun the journey?
The truth is immaturity cannot appreciate the magnitude of the journey. It is unable to wait for any length of time. Likewise, immature believers cannot tolerate waiting or any kind of uncertainty. As a result we are prone to substitute the result God intends, for one we think we can achieve. This is very human!
Since we long for resolution provided by arrival, our tendency is to create a destination even when one may not yet be readily available. Aggravated by the lack of control, we reach for something tailored to our human measures. I would prefer to see the ‘measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’.
So let me ask you a question: Which are you? Are you impatient and ready to settle for what makes you look good to others? Or are you looking for what you have not yet known, that illusive quality hidden in the heart of God? The Spirit of God is looking for a people who are committed to the journey and not just eager for a destination.
Some leaders have decided to satisfy this impatience by breaking up the journey into stages, which offers a sense of accomplishment. In education this has proven to be a great strategy as it offers regular, measurable goals on the road to graduation, i.e. grades one through twelve.
However, in the Church this can legitimize stopping short by offering inferior destinations. Since maturity is an obscure concept to the immature, competition between these tiers is unavoidable. Polarized agendas then create friction, which in turn leads to the perceived need to validate one’s present position. Unfortunately, we do this by dismissing anything beyond our understanding. This results in the mistaken belief that ‘bailing’ at any point along the journey is as valid as crossing the finish line.
The tragic outcome can be leaders who too often bow to the demands of the ‘children’. We have allowed immaturity to deviate us from the true measure of vision. Whether it is creating worship experiences on the basis of the lowest common denominator, or ‘dumbing down’ the message in the hopes of widespread appeal, convenience and simplicity have become our motto. Then, with superior numbers on our side, we display our results as the model of church growth. Could this be one of the reasons for our fading influence?
The truth is we should all have a vision, but we should never be goaded into offering inferior alternatives. What is my vision? I cannot fully answer this question, but it includes seeing a people fully restored and fully functional – a people who the enemy will mistake for Jesus; who have attained to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. This is my vision!
Email Marc: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.watchman.ca