Casting a Vision for Unity

Tuesday Re-mix –

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18

I love Zechariah 8.  It is a beautiful picture of how God gives His people a vision of what is to come, so that they will be encouraged and motivated.

That is what God-given vision does for a church.  When a leader is able to hear from God and then paint a vivid picture of the future, i.e., a clear image of what could be, the people are suddenly much more capable of working toward that end.  The vision of the distant future (e.g., 5 years out) gives hope.  The vision of the intermediate future (e.g., next year) gives perseverance.  But it is the vision of the immediate future (e.g., next week) which motivates us to take our next step.  All three levels of vision are important for different reasons.

Casting vision for the immediate future (e.g., next week) is a little like the arrows on the bowling lanes.  It may feel intimidating to aim at something far away (like a 5-year plan for a church), but aiming at something nearby (like next week) seems do-able.  So, good vision-casting includes not only the encouragement of a picture several years down the road, but the motivation of a picture we can accomplish for next week.

Churches around the world are struggling with unity because they do not have a working vision of what true Biblical unity looks like in the church.  The New Testament is filled with those pictures but, for some reason, we have not always done a good job of putting those pictures in front of our people.  Churches often don’t really know what genuinely healthy relationships are supposed to look like.  Our people think that unity means not having any disagreements or being silent when something is wrong or not confronting a brother who needs some accountability in his life.  Our “pictures” of unity are, in so many cases, not the pictures God has given us through His Word.

I believe we can do a better job of casting that vision.  I believe we can tell the stories of the Bible in a way so as to present a clearer picture of what Christian relationships should be.  I also believe we can cast an immediate vision of what could happen next week in our relationships in order to advance them toward that greater vision.  I believe we can teach the very practical side of our life together as believers.  I believe we can grow healthy Christian community one week at a time with a little effort…o.k., maybe with a lot of effort.  I believe the church can learn these skills required “…to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

We just need leaders who will strive to understand the vision of unity in the church and then paint that vision for us clearly.  Remember, In John 17 when He prayed for all future believers, Jesus could have prayed for anything…and He prayed for unity.  That is a vision worth casting for our people.

© Blake Coffee

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