Why Are We Talking So Much About Vision?

by Pastor Jason
Vision. It’s a word that I’ve been talking a lot about here lately. A group met for its formulation, some dollars have been designated toward it, some meetings have unveiled parts of the movement, and there will soon be two sermon-series, two bible studies, and much prayer – all toward our vision together. But why are we talking so much about vision?


Well, I could answer that in several ways (and I want to give some reasons nearer the end of this article), but first a story. Zion was blessed a while back with some coffee equipment. It was commercial grade, only lightly used, and moth-balled for a time. Yet through the work of the trustees, their improvised tests, the running of new electrical line, and a thorough cleaning… we now have a new coffee maker in what is often called the MMC Kitchen. Now as impressive as that all is, there was one thing it was missing: directions. Yeah, I know it’s a coffee-maker, you put water in here and coffee comes out there, but wait… its way more than that. This is a commercial grade device. It has buttons and brew options and the ability to change the size of the carafe that’s filled with a selectable temperature of water that’s precisely heated, etc., etc. This isn’t your run-of-mill brewer. Only one problem: no instructions. So, (thanks to the web-age) instructions were downloaded and read (yes, I do that on occasion) and – wow – you should see what it can do.


Vision. It’s not quite as crude as downloaded instructions, but as tough as it would be to operate a technically able coffee maker without directions – imagine trying to have Zion move forward and become all that God would have her to be without direction. That’s what vision is: direction. A well-informed and patiently researched by prayer and discernment based – direction. Zion needed that. Why?


Well, first off, it didn’t have one. Thoughtful attempts have been made in the past, but as of today none have stuck. What could the next year look like? Three years? Five years? Ten years? Certainly, inertia has something to say about this, but a change was needed, in my opinion. A change that would help us…


  • Look at what some would call missional communities. These are small group-like opportunities where the bible is studied, people are known and cared for, loving accountability is nurtured, and missional opportunities by the group are cultivated. Mission events in the congregation or outside. Mission targeted in a certain direction. Just imagine, if we could have 5 missional communities (or whatever they’ll be called here) cultivating five different missional relationships, engaging the community in five different ways, and glorifying God through it all. If done well, these could even be a really easy first-step for people to come into contact with Jesus incarnated in the many places we live and work and in the many, unique ways we connect with life.


  • Come together in fellowship and mission as a congregation. One-off events are good, but a relationship allows for a level of care that a one-off event just can’t do. As well, divisions are so easily made in any large group along lines such as age, address, achievement, and the like. Mass events allow the body of Christ at Zion to be together. Just imagine first service and late service people serving together. Women’s Guild and Trustees working together. New babies and 90+ year-olds serving in families as a family of faith – together. These events could leverage our whole congregation’s passion for Christ and allow us to serve together in ways that impact our community and beyond. And just imagine what that would do for the mental, physical, and relational well-being of our community. How would the healing of Christ make a spiritual and whole-life difference?


  • Examine ways that we can maintain the blessings of our current ministry while being aggressive to pay down our current debt load. Around 16 years ago, Zion decided to build an addition; a beautiful addition. And now about 16 years later we are about halfway through the loan and still around one million dollars in debt. Just imagine if we didn’t have that to be concerned with. Just imagine if we could pay that down faster than the next 14 years. Just imagine handing the ministry off to the next generation without that to worry about. Just imagine…


Hmmm, just imagine… if growth in discipleship and outreach flourished on multiple levels and in multiple ways. Just imagine if the money and time we spent on our building was matched (or even exceeded by) the money and time spent on mission. Just imagine if we had a clear direction that allowed for diversity and promoted unity. Just imagine the church not just with a downloaded set of directions… but a uniquely shaped, God-given direction.


Dearest God give us the ability to have such a vision… and then allow us all the ability to have a prayerful and open mind and heart so we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder in this movement. Yes, the church is bound to look different, but together it will be a church where the people make up the body around the One head that is Christ. A church that is and ever becomes one: Taking the cross of grace and peace…


To God alone be the glory!