Thursday, June 12, 2008

Vision: Slip Sliding Away!

The church's vision is always under-communicated by its leaders. We think we've said it plainly before so we don't need to repeat it. Like the guy who told his wife, "I told you I loved you on our wedding day, if I change my mind I'll let you know." Vision, like love, needs to be communicated often. Why, because vision leaks. All of our grand words on Sunday get ripped off the wall by life on Monday. I think that is one reason that the early church took the Lord's Supper every Sunday. Human beings need constant reminders.

How can we tell if our vision for transformed lives is leaking away? Andy Stanley says, leaders can spot leakage by listening for three things:

The first is prayer requests. What people pray for tells us more than anything else whether people are locked into the vision and priorities of the church. When a group (class, leaders meeting, LIFE Group, etc) gathers in prayer, are the only prayer requests for sick people? Andy writes: "When I'm in such a meeting, I say, 'Whoa, is anybody in this group burdened for broken people or their unchurched or unsaved friend? Yes, let's pray for the sick people. Now, what else can we pray for?'" In our public, small group and private prayer times let's pray for people's emotional, relational, and spiritual needs - as well as their physical needs. Let's pray for people's whole-life transformation.

The second indicator of vision leakage is stories of great things happening in people's lives. If there are no stories, then maybe our vision for life transformation has leaked. It's not that God's isn't working, maybe we've just been distracted and haven't noticed. It is a gift to God and to one another when we notice what He is doing and share the stories of His mights acts with one another. When was the last time you shared what God is doing in your life or in the lives of those you love?

The third indicator of vision leakage is what people complain about. If people are complaining about the wrong stuff, then vision is leaking. When they complain about the music, or the parking, or the carpet, or that the church is too big, or there are too many people they don't know, we can respond, "I know. God is blessing us." But it's a sign of vision leakage. What am I most tempted to complain about? In a moment of self-reflection I can say, often things that have more to do with my comfort or preferences and less to do with fulfilling God's mission in the lives of people.

We know it, vision leaks; churches drift. I hope being aware of these indicators will help us, as individual Christ-followers and as a church, to give our attention to things that matter eternally. Community is an awesome church with an incredible future. May God give us eyes to see and the courage to embrace those things that matter most to Him.


Sean McCarthy said...

you nailed it! it's our comfort quickly creeps up to the top of our agenda's if we're not paying attention

marcus said...

Great message Brent...I think all 3 indicators are valid, but think the last is the most telling. "complaining" sets a negitive tone from the start, it's all about wants. I don't see it as complaining if it deals with our Christian or human needs. Also, compaining is inward, we are suposed to outward and look to others needs.
Our family was attracted to CCC partly because of the potential we see for this church to be a beacon/ magnet in this community.