Friday, January 12, 2007

Vision Statement Written or Vision Lived Out

Mission and vision statements bug me. Once the darlings of the corporate world, they have now been mainstreamed into the church. When a church has to write a mission statement, it usually tells me they don’t like the one God gave them, namely, when Jesus says “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)

Last Sunday, I saw vision lived out. We were invited to Bunde Christian Reformed Church in Bunde, Minnesota (don’t look on the map, it’s too small!) for a praise service in their new 420 seat sanctuary. In the world’s wisdom, you do not erect a 420 seat sanctuary in the middle of the prairie in a town of 30 people. You just don’t do that; but they did. Why?? They have vision and they are obedient. Bunde CRC did this during the 3 years they were without a pastor. They have been obedient when I’m sure people said “you’re nuts!”

Oswald Chambers said this in his little book His Utmost for His Highest, a daily devotional (well worth buying) on page 64: “It is easier to serve God without a vision, easier to work for God without a call, because then you are not bothered by what God requires; common sense is your guide, veneered over with Christian sentiment. You will be more prosperous and successful, more leisure-hearted, if you never realize the call of God. But if once you receive a commission from Jesus Christ, the memory of what God wants will always come like a goad; you will no longer be able to work for Him on the common-sense basis.” Acts 20:24 says: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

No, Bunde CRC’s 420 seat sanctuary on the prairie does not make “common sense,” but God has HIS ways and they are not our ways.

People were standing around afterwards talking, people not from the local area who said, “I would drive 30 miles to attend church here.” Why? Not because they have a new building but in the words of one man, “Someone here has a vision, someone had the guts to obey and move forward.” Remember this, people are not attracted to new buildings, they are attracted to a vision.

I agree with Chambers, it is easier to serve God without a vision. You see, then we’re not challenged, we just sit and become self-righteous, pious back-slappers, feeling good about our good deeds while the world around us goes to hell. It’s time to go to work. Let’s GO like Christ said. We do not need to take Christ to the hurting world, He’s already here. We need to get up and see what He is doing. Let’s live the vision not just write about it or think about it while sitting in our overstuffed chairs. God help us. With new vision and purpose, may we all go forth in faith because He promises that He will be with us always. Remember we are not our own but we are His. Let’s be obedient and go to work. Amen.

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