The Vision Thing
A cartoon once showed two Eskimos fishing through holes in the ice. One of the Eskimos had made a hole like you might expect to see, about the size of a manhole cover. The other had dropped his line in an immense hole that seemed to reach to the edge of the horizon, in the shape of a whale. Now that's what I call vision! That fisherman expected great things and prepared accordingly.
From November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981 more than sixty American diplomats and citizens were held hostage for 444 days after a group of Iranian students took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. When the hostages returned home, they reported that the thing that kept them going was vision. They would envision the day of their release. They would keep the smiles and faces of their families before them. They would imagine building that "dream" house they always had in mind. By keeping a vision, the hope of a better tomorrow before them, they were able to face the grim circumstances of today. They proved the maxim of the scriptures that "without a vision the people perish." (Proverbs 29:18)
Churches, too, need a vision, lest they perish. They need a game plan, a sense of direction of what God is calling them to do and to be. If a church has a vision of "business as usual," then that is what will happen. But if a church has a vision of being a caring church, or a church for families, or a church that reaches out to the community, and plans accordingly, that vision will become the driving force and motivation behind all their activities.
The Council has been spending some serious time drafting a purpose, mission, and vision statement. Based upon our timeline, hymn sing, and work we’ve done at our Council retreats, we each are taking a shot at coming up with a statement that captures who we are and where God wants us to go. From there we will begin to hone this material into a concise and cogent set of statements.
This is a daunting task not only as we try to discern what kind of building would support our ministries and outreach programs, but also how we do ministry today given the changing religious landscape in America. The church needs to ask what has changed and what directions are things heading in? It is time to rethink who are our natural constituencies: Retired persons? Single adults? Young families? How can we better feed our own people to grow as disciples of Christ?
Please pray for the Council as we continue this process and consult with attorneys, architects, and others who will give us guidance on how to proceed. Our plan is to present a proposal for the next steps in September based upon all the work we’ve done together. Then we can start working on a building design and configuration.
A wise person once said, "Aim at nothing and you'll hit it every time." A new sense of identity and direction will give a congregation dreams to dream and goals to shoot for. It will also shape the congregation's search for the kind of pastoral leadership needed to lead you into a new future.