Solomon observed, “Where there is no revelation (God-inspired vision) the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law” [Prov.29:18]. The immediate context is that when God’s word is not known and honored the people run wild. On the other hand the ones that know and keep His word are blessed. Vision for our purpose is a God-inspired attractive future. The perceived benefits encourage people to put the vision into effect. There are three critical elements for effective God-inspired vision: receiving the revelation from God, communicating the vision, and then implementing the vision.
Effective church leadership requires leaders to sense where God wants to move His people during any particular season of ministry. Often the sense of an attractive future isexpressed as the church’s vision for the coming season(s). So church leaders will communicate a vision for the coming year that might focus on evangelism, prayer, community groups, community service, being disciples who make disciples, Bible-study, etc. The possibilities are seemingly as infinite as our infinite Lord.
In 2015, Calvary Nexus’ vision focuses on connecting with Christ as part of our church community. First the benefit: connecting with a healthy local church is a fundamental means to connect with Christ and become a mature follower of Jesus. How do you know if you are connected to a church community? Here are seven statements that reflect a connection with Christ and others in a local church:
- I know and resonate with the mission of the church, “Loving God and living His Word.”
- I regularly attend weekend services.
- I’m involved in mid-week community.
- I’m involved in service at the local church.
- I can identify seven friends in this church community.
- I invite unbelievers and unchurched people to become part of this community.
- I’m committed financially to advancing God’s kingdom through this church community.
Our church leadership believes that the greatest benefit to the people who call Calvary Nexus their home church is to help them to develop community here so that we can grow together as mature followers of Christ. So our great desire is to see 100% of our church community able to respond affirmatively to the seven statements described above. We know that this will be a process for each of us. Also, we don’t want anyone to feel that relationship with Christ is based on performance. Similarly, we don’t want people to be motivated by guilt, shame, or manipulation.
We must consider how to most effectively communicate the vision to the church community. Is the vision clear? Do you understand what is expected or desired as you read the vision? What personal benefits do you perceive from implementing the vision? How often should we share the vision [e.g. monthly, quarterly]? What mediums should we use to communicate the vision [e.g. web site, mobil app, videos, flyers]? Unfortunately, we often need to communicate the vision ad nauseam before those that we are speaking with see it, hear it, and get it.
We will also consider how to most effectively implement the vision among the nexus community. We seek to encourage progress and growth without being heavy-handed. Whenever accountability is encouraged there is a tendency to create conflict with people potentially feeling over-controlled or being improperly motivated. So we earnestly want to determine how to measure progress in a proper way. We will look to discover what are some of the obstacles you and others at our church are likely to experience? Does the vision resonate with you? Why or why not? What progress are you making in regard to implementing the vision?
Why is all this so important? Despite the obvious challenges a great vision is unlikely to yield benefits without effective communication and implementation. Vision helps people reach a desired attractive destination without running wild. We are Christ-confident that if you implement the vision in this coming season that you will make significant growth as a disciple of Jesus in connection with Him and others in community. Or as Solomon declared, you’ll be blessed!
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Bruce Zachary is the founding and lead pastor at Calvary Nexus. He and his wife Karen and their sons Josh and Jonny live in Camarillo. He enjoys teaching the Bible, fountain pens, riding his bike, and good coffee.