Over the past several years, there has been one constant question asked of me about the church I pastor. And that question is, “What is the Vision?” Sometimes the question is asked, “What is your Vision?”
I have been asked those questions so many times, that there have been times when I felt like I had to come up with something. I felt like I had to have or present a vision for the church that would sound good and would be very impressive to others. In fact, I once told myself, should be able to come up with a vision if I take into account my educational background, my corporate background, my legal background, my military background, my denominational background and even the background of the time when I was living in constant sin. But I could never come up with anything.
Through the teaching of the Holy Spirit, I have learned some things about visions. (1) Any vision that is a true vision can only come from God. (2) Any vision that comes from God, oftentimes, is one that has been in front of you all the time, but you could not see it. (3) Any vision from God will not be revealed to you until God has prepared you to receive it.
I humbly submit to you, God has personally revealed to me the Vision for our church. He has spoken to me and given me clear directions, clear admonitions and clear warnings. I have no intentions to reveal that vision in this article because the vision is not for everybody, but soon everybody will become aware of what the vision is. But the vision has been given to the church I pastor.
Before the vision was revealed, I had to be first taught, some important truths about visions. And I have come to realize, my concept of visions in general, was misleading and inaccurate. The same is true for many others who have proclaimed their vision for their churches.
Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us that during the days of the Old Testament, God at many times and in many different ways, would speak to His people through Prophets. Most of the Old Testament is centered around God, speaking to His people through prophets like, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Samuel, Gideon, Moses, David, Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the list goes on and on.
For example, the first verse of the Book of Isaiah begins with these words, “the vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem…” The word “vision” in this context and in most contexts means, “a divine revelation from God.” A vision from God is then, some revelation from God about what He is about to do, and an explanation as to why. Isaiah 1:1-9 is a revelation from God to Isaiah about what He was about to do and how he felt about His people.
Throughout the history of mankind there were periods of time when God remained silent and said nothing. He did not say anything to His people, especially when there were no prophets available and when there were false prophets. In fact, in the Book of Jeremiah, God said there will be no vision from Him, because there were too many false prophets giving His people visions that He did not give.
That is why Solomon wrote these words in Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is vision, the people perish.” It is clear Solomon was saying, that when the people do not hear from God they perish. They perish because they end of depending on their own, devices, their own thinking and their own wisdom instead of depending on God for direction and guidance. And the mostly perish because their hope and faith is in themselves instead of being in God.
So now today, as a result of not understanding the truth of scripture, many of our churches, and many of God’s people have misused Proverbs by thinking and believing the church has to have a vision in order to function properly. And that is why, over the years, many have asked, “What is the Vision.”
Once again, Hebrews also tells us that in the last days, God speaks to His people, through His Son Jesus Christ. So now, in these last days, God can and does speak to Pastors, when He wants to reveal something to them and/or when He wants them to know what He is about to do. But let’s be clear, that does not mean that every Pastor, or every Church will receive a vision from the Lord. But it does mean, Jesus Christ will speak to some Pastors or some Churches, to reveal what He is about to do, so that the Pastor/Church will be in the right position to receive what God is about to do.
When Habakkuk said, “And the Lord answered me and said, write the vision, and make it plain upon tables that he may run that read it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie, though it tarry, wait fo rit, because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
Many have mis-interpreted this passage. God was telling Habakkuk, write down what I have told you on tables, which was the common practice of writing a public notice. Making it plain means write it down with simple words, large letter, so that everyone can see it and read it. In fact it should be written in such a way that a person running can read it as they run by it.
God was also saying to Habakkuk, what I just told you or revealed to you is for a time in the future, but when that time comes, the vision will speak for itself, because everybody will see it come to pass. It will take a while, and you must wait for it, but it will surely come and it won’t be too long.
That is exactly how I shared God vision with our church. For now the vision is for our congregation, but soon all of you will see it because the vision will speak for itself.
We must never forget, when the vision comes from God, Satan will immediately attack. But if the vision is from God, no weapon formed against it will prosper. Stay tuned!
Gilbert Owens is a resident of Roseboro and the director of the Roseboro Senior Center.