by Terry Camsey, Major –
Without “I”s, there can be no vision! And, without a vision, the people perish!!
We certainly have done our share of visioning over the years in this territory, both at corps and territorial level, haven’t we? One wonders what is happening, or has happened, to all of those “pictures of a prefer-red future” that many have spent hours crystallizing.
A vision is, of course, a destination…somewhere we believe the Lord wants us to get to. Visions, ideally, describe our mission being fulfilled with excellence. They have many potential benefits. For example, they (with the mission statement) can and should be used as filters though which to pass every activity and program…present or proposed. If those activities and programs can be shown to satisfy our mission (purpose, the reason we exist) and move us towards accomplishment of our vision, or can be made to, then they are worth keeping. If not, we are just wasting valuable energy.
Another benefit of a vision is that, even if our strategic plan to reach it is blown off course due to circumstances beyond our control, we can—keeping the destination in mind—select another route to get us there. If my goal in coming to Los Angeles from Sacramento down Highway 5 is thwarted because the Grapevine is closed due to snow, I can cut across to Highway 101 and come in that way.
Think about this. If you know where you are, but not where you want to go, a map is useless. That is as true if you know where you want to go but don’t know where you are relative to that destination. Both positions need to be known. It’s the same with planning to improve the ministry of your corps.
Some have difficulty with mission statements and visions…even to thinking that they are not biblical and smack of secularity. Interesting.
God had a clear mission (purpose) in sending Christ. John 3:16 spells it out: “…that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Christ himself affirmed that purpose in John 10:10: “…I am come that they might have life…”
God also had a vision for his preferred future for the world. He gave it to St. John, through Christ, in Revelation where the picture is painted of: “…a great multitude…of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne…” worshiping God and Christ, the Lamb of God. See how reflective that is of the Great Commission Christ mandated in Matthew 28:19. Do this, in order to get that.
Also, I don’t know whether you spotted it, but Jesus even laid out a strategy of evangelism for his first disciples…a plan that is as relevant today as it was in his day. Acts 1:8 spells it out: “…ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Do you see it, starting at home in your corps (your Jerusalem), AND in all Judea (your community), AND in Samaria (those of other ethnicities and cultures in your community), AND unto the uttermost part (areas in your community where unsaved people live, but are located too far away to reasonably come to your present facility…yet reachable through home groups, outposts, new daughter corps etc.?
Careful consideration of our purpose (mission), defining what God would like to see happening as a result of our ministry (vision), plus defining and working on a way to fulfill that mission and achieve the vision (strategy) are all biblical. But, even if these exist, yet rather than living documents are lying on a shelf gathering dust, much valuable labor is being wasted.
Working hard is important, provided it is achieving what God desires of us. And a vision is incredibly valuable. Even if we keep stubbing our toes en route, provided we keep sight of it and keep moving towards it, we shall eventually get there.
But we need “I”s to see that vision in the first place, else we’ll just land up with…