Monday, October 3, 2011

Vision Leaks

I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision........... The apostle Paul (Acts 26:19)

One of the most important lessons I have learned during my time at PCC is that vision leaks.  Early on, I thought I just had to have a vision, put it in print, and on special occasions, share it.

When I say “visions leaks,” I mean once people hear it, they don’t keep it.  It burns bright for a season, but it tends to fade.  It’s like a leaky bucket that constantly needs refilling.

One of the natural flows of a church is to turn inward on itself; therefore, it takes a disproportionate amount of leadership energy to keep it turned outward.  I don’t have to spend any energy trying to get people to start focusing on themselves, to have their felt needs met, to take a class of interest, or, if they are new to the church, to try out a small group to make new friends.  But when it comes to dying to themselves for someone else – real inconvenience for the sake of reaching someone else – that’s an entirely different affair.  It’s then I have to cast the vision again, and again, and again, and again….

If I took my eye off this ball, within eighteen months we would have people complaining about the music being too loud or too modern, about having to park too far from the building, and that they can’t find a seat.  This would soon be followed by phrases such as, “I’m not being ministered to,” “I’m not being fed,” and “I didn’t get anything about of it.”  When a church turns inward, it starts biting and devouring one another (Galatians 5:15).

As important as it is to have a compelling vision and mission, church leaders have to help people see how the seemingly small things matter.  For instance, when someone is working in a hot, stuffy nursery watching someone else’s crying and hyperactive kid, it’s not easy to see yourself advancing the kingdom of God.  But if a church leader comes up to that person and says, “What you are doing matters.  There was a family in church today who heard God’s Word and they committed their lives to Christ.  Thanks for being back here and serving this way so that God could speak to these parents in the sanctuary.  You may have helped alter their eternity,” suddenly the small things are not so small anymore.

We have to keep the main thing the main thing.  Football coach Vince Lombardi used to begin every training season with the Green Bay Packers by gathering his team together, and with the pigskin in hand would say, “Gentlemen, this is a football.”  Lombardi communicated his point:  We’re going to start with the basics and make sure we’re executing the fundamentals.

Yes, vision can leak that badly.  And I think it’s time for a refresher.

1 comment:

Ron said...

Typically, we do not offer altar calls for people to commit to Christ... something I fully explain in Seminar 101 - "Discovering the PCC Family."

Instead, we invite people to "believe" and "receive" (like was practiced in the Bible) all through the service. This is something that occurrs naturally in the human heart in response to the gospel and the presence of God. Almost every week, people commit to Christ (for salvation, recommitment, or in taking the next step in their spiritual growth) and this is communicated to us by means of the commitment cards.

For instance, last Sunday two people comitted to Christ (one for salvation, the other was renewing their commitment).

Additioinally, our batism services are another opportunity for people to commit and publicly confess Christ before men. Already this year we have baptized approximately 50 people. Last year, we baptized 42 in one service!

We then assist these people to help them progress in their spiritual journey by offering opportunites to serve or Bible studies. All of this adds up to a healthy church made of up healthy, growing believers.

Hope this helps.