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.