Vision Sunday 2010

Read Psalm 126 here.

At the start (or close to) of each year, Lawson Road takes time to look back on the previous year and forward to the current year.  We look back seeking to identify how we, as a church, have served God in the previous 12 months.  However, we don’t want to take credit for ourselves, so we also seek to acknowledge how God has worked through and among us over that period.

The church members benefit from this process because they often don’t realise how the church has grown or how many guests visited us during the year.  Vision Sunday also provides an opportunity to highlight ministries that take place outside the spotlight, and share their victories with the rest of the congregation.

When we turn our gaze to the coming year we attempt to predict the opportunities and challenges we will face as a church.  Of course there is a measure of futility associated with this task, but we would also be irresponsible if we didn’t make any plans.  We mainly emphasise our need to seek and prepare for the opportunities God will send us to serve Him and share His Good News.

As I prepared for this annual event it occurred to me how many Biblical examples I could find of this process.  The concept of looking backwards at God’s activity in our lives and using those experiences to inform our future faith forms a recurring example in Scripture.

  • God’s actions in the Exodus form the basis of his demand for future exclusive worship in Exodus 20.
  • Many of the Psalms follow this pattern.  For example, the first 3 verses of Psalm 126 look back to God’s deliverance and the joy that accompanied it.  That experience then forms the basis for expecting God to again deliver with joy in the last 3 verses.
  • Hebrews 11-12 uses the lives of past godly leaders to motivate faith in present day Christians.  “Since we’re surrounded by [these previous examples of faith] … let us run with perseverance… fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Heb. 12:1-2)
  • The Lord’s Supper embraces this head swiveling principle.  At it’s core, the Supper commemorates the death and resurrection of Christ.  Yet looking backwards in turn inspires us to look forward and motivates our present actions, “you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

This may seem like a logical process to apply to Scripture since it was written a couple of thousand years ago, but how about in our own lives and churches?

  • How many examples do you have of God working in your life?  How do they impact your faith as you move into the future?
  • Do you agree that most Christians don’t have many specific examples of God’s activity in their life?  Why do you think that is?
  • Have you ever been part of a church that could share a history of God’s blessing that motivated them to move confidently into the future?
  • I suspect that most church members don’t know their congregational history and therefore many examples of God’s grace, love and rescue are quickly lost.  What’s your experience?  Does it matter?
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3 comments

  1. Josh Freeman

    I pray vision sunday goes well for you. your post reminded me of two things: 1) Proverbs 29:18 “Where there is no prophetic vision the people are discouraged…” and 2) a story that Helen Keller was asked once “What would be worse than being born blind?” to which she replied “Having sight without a vision.”

    anyway, i just thought you’d enjoy those two things which inspire vision in me. God bless my friend!

    • ozziepete

      Thanks Josh, I’m glad you stopped by. I know that Pr. 29:18 is a super popular verse when it comes to discussing vision for the church. But I’ve tried everything I can to avoid it.

      I just don’t think it refers to the kind of congregational goals that we’re usually referring to when we talk about a vision for the church. Eg. We want to host 5 church fellowship meals; 2 doorknocking campaigns; host a youth rally; be more involved in our community…

      I like that the version you quoted says “prophetic” vision, as that makes the divine element clear. KJV & NASB both just say “vision” and in our lexicon “vision” = “goals”. The NIV translation of “revelation” clarifies that the emphasis is on whether our lives are consistent with God’s revealed will, not just on short-term personal or congregational goals.

      I think it’s a true statement that churches need to have goals, just like sports teams and businesses do. Goals motivate and provide measurable targets, but they’re not what that verse is talking about.

      Sorry, didn’t really mean to go off, but I guess it’s another soapbox. I hope school’s going well for you!!

  2. Josh Freeman

    Thanks for the response Peter and don’t worry about the soapbox…i get on those too :). Anyway, I like the “prophetic vision” also because I personally believe that we, as Christians, have been given a vision not only of things to come (heaven) but in a more realistic idea…a vision to proclaim the gospel and word of God to all nations (great commission). In fact, getting a little bit out of the proverb, a prophet proclaims the message of God. We are to act as God’s megaphone if you will. anyway, thanks again for putting up with my random thoughts 🙂 sometimes they aren’t very cohesive.

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