Suppose we owned a moving company. Our vision was to be the “go to” movers for all residential relocations. Can you name some actions we’d have in order to achieve our grand vision?
People would need to know who we were and what we are there for.
We’d need some trucks to move stuff in.
We’d need people to put stuff in trucks.
We’d need tools to help us move items that were too big to load by hand.
We’d need to have some standards on how we loaded items into our trucks, right? We don’t want to scratch people’s nice things, so we’d need to have a scratch and dent free aim and guarantee.
We’d need to supply some items to assist us in making sure we didn’t scratch and dent some stuff.
We’d need to supply ice cream for our employees.
We’d need to ensure that our employees knew how to lift heavy items, and how to care for their own health during the grueling days of summer and moving lots of heavy items.
We’d need a place to keep our trucks, and other supplies when we were not moving.
As you can see, there’s lots to think about when lining up our actions to our vision.
Did you note any of the action items that was not a bad thing, but didn’t exactly line up with the vision? Yeah, you saw it. “Supply ice cream for our employees”.
Is ice cream bad? Negative.
Is providing ice cream for our employees bad? Negative.
In fact, I love ice cream. I believe it’s one of the ways God proves he loves us and intends wonderful things for redeemed humanity. I even believe it would be a great thing to stop the truck now and again and get some of that cool frozen treat for the guys and gals on the way to deliver goods and services on a hot summer day. But is it necessary for achieving the vision? Negative.
I hyperbolize to make a point: In our churches, do we know Jesus’ vision? Does our organizational order and action line up with the vision?
Perhaps we’ve assumed that the church order/structure/governance is what should be. The truth is that it’s hard to agree on a prescribed governance and structure. Just look at the multiple ways of ordering the church, and yet each has some form of biblical mooring (presbyterian, congregational, elder led). The truth is that the church must learn to fit it’s model into it’s context while staying on point with Jesus’ vision. This is not what is happening in much of our world of “doing church”. We are not fluid. We are static, and stuck on providing more for Christians to have rather than mobilizing Christians to go.
The same assumptions about order/structure/governance have likely led to not evaluating whether our internal “ministries” align with the vision.
What is Jesus’ vision? Make disciples of all nations. So, how does what we do and how we do it match up with that? Budgets? Ministries? Strategies? Discipleship? Who/what we give finances to?
Some figures point to less than 1/10 of 1 percent of our finances from the local western church going toward expanding the kingdom where it has never been. Do those finances line up with Jesus’ grand vision? Negative.
Does our discipleship focus on information gathering or on hearing and obeying? How did Jesus do it?
It’s good to evaluate what we do in light of vision, and in particular Jesus’ vision. Does our vision sell Jesus’ vision short? As Christian churches we need to be particularly narrow and lean in our organizational order and action because Jesus was super specific in laying out his vision, which must be ours. So, I invite you to think, evaluate, shift if need be, and let’s join Jesus grand vision of seeing his kingdom multiply among all nations as robustly as we possible can.