Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ
Most of us have probably seen the advertisements on television featuring someone in a less than ideal situation due to a mistake caused by their poor vision. The advertisements end with the slogan: They should have gone to Specsavers. I guess the message is clear (pardon the pun): poor vision can lead to unfortunate circumstances. However, this is not a new message. The writer of Proverbs said much the same thing when he wrote, ‘Where there is no vision the people perish.’ (Proverbs 29: 18).
There is a lot of talk these days about vision, and the need for vision in the church. George Barna, founder of a Christian research company, has observed that one of the main differences between healthy churches and stagnant churches is vision. Barna writes, ‘In every one of the growing, healthy churches I have studied, a discernible link has been forged between the spiritual and numerical growth of those congregations and the existence, articulation and wide-spread ownership of God’s vision for ministry by the leaders and participants of the church. Conversely, visionless congregations fail to experience spiritual and numerical growth.’ We all want to get to a place where we see our church grow spiritually and numerically. The question is: how do we get to that place?
It has been said that vision is the blazing campfire around which the people of God gather. I like that image, because it conjures memories of community gatherings, basking in the light, energy, and warmth of the camp fire. Vision, like a campfire, helps us to see through God’s eyes, to perceive His purposes and possibilities…His light, His energy, His warmth. Vision strengthens us with the conviction that ‘all things are possible through Christ’ (Philippians 4: 13). Vision gives us a sense of where we are, where we’re going, and how we’re going to get there. Vision has been described as God’s preferred future.
In October 2017 I shared the Mission Statement, which the Session had been working on for several months last year. A Mission Statement gives us a snapshot of who we are. A Vision Statement articulates what we want to become. However, a Vision Statement cannot simply express the aspirations of the congregation. It has to capture the essence of God’s preferred future. In other words, it has to be God’s vision for the church. The Session has given a lot of time and prayerful thought to this, and believe that God has placed His vision in our hearts. We believe that vision arises out of our burden to know the Will of God, to become whatever it is God wants us to become. It is the product of God working in us. He creates the vision, and we receive it. However, receiving a vision of God’s preferred future is only part of the process. The vision needs to be expressed and articulated. In the words of the prophet Habakkuk it needs to be written down. God, speaking through Habakkuk, says, ‘write down the vision and make it plain on tablets so that herald may run with it.’ (Habakkuk 2: 2).
So, here it is. Here is what the Session believes is God’s preferred future for Wilson Memorial Church:
“We want to be at the Heart of the community we serve.”
Yours in Christ, Rev Mike.