“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.” (Proverbs 29:18, NASB)
“If I say, “I won’t mention Him or speak any longer in His name,” His message becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones. I become tired of holding it in, and I cannot prevail.” (Jeremiah 20:9, HCSB)
A vision for any organization is very important, especially for a church. Even greater than just having a vision is one that people embrace and is something they are excited about. Combining, the two verses above teach us that vision is important, but the goal for any vision is that people will burn with it in their organizations long-term ideals. So what does one do when a vision is not being caught? How does one actually get people to embrace a vision? In other words, it’s one thing for a leader or an organization to have a vision. It’s another issue for that vision to catch on and burn into the organizations motivations.
About two weeks ago I attended a church planting/strategy conference. During the event we had training on how to effectively cast a vision. I’ll be honest; I became very frustrated during this portion of the conference. They were only giving us textbook answers about the importance of a vision and not telling us how to get others to embrace the vision. As a pastor I’m very aware that I need to cast a vision. However, there are times when people are refusing to follow or embrace any concept for the future. So I wanted more practical steps than just the theoretical ones they were providing. Little did I know, God would teach me the steps the next week, which are simply involving a few people, a lot of prayer, and a lot of time. I’ll explain by using burning wood as an analogy.
Casting a vision is like burning wet wood; you have to let it dry out before it will burn. Eventually you can burn wet wood by first burning nearby dry wood. By starting with the dry wood it creates heat that will help dry out the wet wood. Then more wood can be burned to set a blaze. People, churches, and organizations are a lot like wood, they won’t burn until they’ve been dried out from the beliefs, traditions, or hurt from the past that have soaked in. Therefore, this means getting a vision to catch fire within any group of people takes time and prayer.
Similarly, as a pastor I can’t force a vision to take hold. At best it’s wise for me to wait until urgency comes from within the church. Then I can recast the vision and pray for those who are dry wood so they can let the vision burn within them. It will be their passion and prayers with this vision that I believe will help dry out others who may be wetted down from the past. Ultimately, I don’t mind if members initially listen to another member, the Lord or me. I just want the church to grow, love each other, and glorify God.
In the end, my hope is through people, prayer, and time a small group will embrace the mission based vision I have casted. By burning hot with this vision they can cause others to dry out of their past. Then the Lord can do some mighty things in our church. My hope is that these are things that even beyond my wishes and expectation because it will be a movement of God, than an enforcement of myself. That’s a vision worth burning for!
Will you pray our church, that God will passionately burn a missions based vision within us so that the Great Commission will be filled? If so, please encourage us by leaving your name in the comments section below. Also, I pray this post has clarified and inspired you about what a vision is and how it can burn in your life too.
One more thing; Remember, I should know something about burning wood; after all I’m a CHITWOOD!