Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Power of a Church's Vision

Unity comes when the people have a common vision. I was reminded of this years ago when I directed a discussion with the pastors and elders of a church in the Midwest during a two-day retreat. The church was being pulled in several directions. As I spent time with the church leaders before the retreat, five areas of conflict came to the forefront. There were relational, spiritual, doctrinal, philosophical, and organizational conflicts among the people of the congregation. As each problem was brought up, the forty-plus of us would gather together and ask the Spirit of God to guide us. What soon became evident was the lack of a clear vision statement for the body of Christ, they had no answer. I advised them to seek God and His vision of what He wanted to do in their midst. During the actual retreat, we hammered out a vision statement that everyone agreed upon. The mission statement went like this: "This local church exists for the purpose of loving Jesus Christ by magnifying Him through the Word and worship, by loving believers and encouraging them toward maturity and ministry, and by loving the lost through making Jesus Christ known to our neighbors and the world." This mission statement gave the leaders of the church a purpose and a direction. They next evaluated the programs of their church. In the process, some of them were discarded because they did not fit into the mission statement of the church. Others were added. As the leaders moved forward in the process, their hearts were unified. It was not uncommon during that weekend to see them break down in tears of repentance and forgiveness toward each other. The power of their vision made possible not only direction and unity but also greater love and commitment toward each other. God wants us to have His vision. As a congregation walks with the Lord, the members are to walk in the unity of the Spirit, which He has established in His body. Now, several years later, the church is strong, it has grown, there is solid unity among the people, and God is being glorified. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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