By: Bro. Wilfred Atigbi
What is vision? Ask ten different persons and you will get ten different answers. This has a lot to do with the fact that “vision” is a business term, not a biblical one. It reflects organizational strategy to progress any organization from one level to another. It is not biblical term but business-oriented statement to the dynamics in the circular world. It is not out of place to apply the statement to the development of the Church for the Church to move from one level to the other so long as we follow the guidelines of the Bible.
This recalls what (Prov. 29:18) says: “Where there is no vision, the people perish”? Read that verse from another translation other than the King James Version and it will be clear. The proverb teaches that people cast off restraint if there is no divine leadership. It does not teach that people perish if the leader does not cast a vision for the future. The faithful Leader is consumed with the mission of the church, not his personal vision for the church. The Lord Jesus Christ has commissioned the church to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20). This is what the church is called to be and propagate the message of Christ within His command and laws.
Any strategic plan or vision the leaders or any individual develops should only comply to serve Christ- as He established the Church with a non-negotiable mission of the church. We are to make disciples for Christ and worship God faithfully. Proclaim the gospel to lead sinners to the saving-faith in Christ and nurture them to spiritual maturity in Christ as a priority. To pursue any other agenda which is personalized, becomes something other than the church of Jesus Christ purchased with His blood. (Acts 20:28-30)
Of course, a wise leadership makes plans. Knowing what to do and knowing how to carry out the assignments as agreed scripturally. Leaders must prayerfully develop a strategy for fulfilling the Great Commission with available resources, and with the members the Lord has entrusted to them. Functional leaders come to agreement and cannot simply do what an individual proposes for church that is not scriptural. That is the essence of plurality of the Elders in the Congregation of the Lord’s Church. (1Tim 3:1-7, Tit. 1:1-4).
God has called us to a specific Congregation to lead people. And the Lord has a specific plan for the Congregation and the people. We need to seek God, learn from our people, and understand our specific situation to discern how the church should carry out its vision. After we receive direction, know how to communicate the plan to those we lead. These are important matters.
As leaders we are not like CEO of a worldly corporate organization. We are Elders of a specific congregation. Let the church be the church led in the spirit of oneness as Christ is the owner (Eph 5: 23-25). We need to Make sure our ministerial plans align with the mission of the church. Determine to do the Lord’s work the Lord’s way for the Lord’s glory. Lead our people with heavenly wisdom not worldly strategies.
WHICH ARE AREAS THE THAT NEEDS VISIONS:
- EVANGALISM – this is the priority of any visionary leadership in the Church ( 28:18-20)
- House to house outreach to be vigorously carried out.
- Open air evangelism to let people know about the Church
- The printing of useful acceptable tracts to fulfil preaching exercise.
- BENEVOLENCE: This is key as there are always needy members in the Church that need assistance, collectively and individually. ( 5:10). I think we are struggling in this area as a lot is still begging to be done here. We are hiding under unscriptural notes in avoiding some silent things. For us to be functional here, there is need for the leadership to delegate faithful brethren to do a lot of things to encourage brethren to feel the touch by the Church. (Jn. 17:20-23, Gal 5:10, Gal. 6:1-6).
- Sustaining our annual lectureship for the sisters and the youths
- Proper screening of lessons to edify the Church and appointment those who can deliver.
- Proper coordination of new coverts and the kid’s classes. (Considering our infrastructure development)
- Sustenance of zonal home fellowship.
- Seminars to address some critical issues with dissenting opinions in this Congregation.
SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF VISIONS IN CHURCH:
involvement in vision needs a lot of efforts like in business or a church. Sadly, the simple truth is that most visionary efforts fail when there is no commitment by all members and leaders that have dissenting views about some set objectives. I think that is especially true in this Congregation. We have set several vision processes for this Congregation to aspire to a level that we all feel one another. But all we see and observe is giving of excuses from some quarters. Instead when given opportunity people tend to put blame on church leadership action and in action many times. From this experience, I have distilled several reasons why visioning efforts fail in this Congregation. We all need to wake up and work for the Lord who called us into this body both male, female and youths. (Jn. 15:16, Jn 17: 20-23).
PROBLEM OF GETTING THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN PLACE:
A vision will not take root in a congregation until the leadership buys in and helps others buy into the vision. All too often, visions in the church is not rooted in discernment by spiritual minded members. It is either brought by the Elders alone, without a team of people who have some experience in strategic planning in this area.
Transformation in a church has its starting point from spiritual leadership. Leadership often struggle to bring together a team who share some essential characteristics; the gift of leadership, and a personal commitment to a deeper spiritual journey, is expressed in the marks of disciple’s willingness to work the talk.
Jim Collins, in his book good to great, lays out the principle of “first who, then what.” Great leaders, upon joining a new organization, first concentrate on putting together a leadership team, and then, with that team, cast a vision for the future. As he puts it, “You get the right people in the right place, the wrong people off the place, and the right people in the right place. Only then, do you decide where to go. Sadly, many members who are ill-prepared to discern a
vision for the church think more of their personal needs than that of the Church. They see a vision less important from their personal vision before it is created and feel that it does not require their conceptual thinking. While 80 percent of the population are centered in their personal endeavors, only 20 percent are concerned about its success. This result creates problems for leadership, who needs a team that might be totally committed to leading the Congregation on set visions for the congregation. So, if you are not ready to be in a small group of visionary leaders, please get busy with yourself, because the success of any vision is not a job for one but for every one of us. (Heb. 10:25-27, Jam. 4:17)
LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES AND VISION:
Whatever leaders are hoping to achieve, they need the power of a vision to make it possible in the minds of their followers. There are at least three leadership principles that should be at work while leading people with vision.
- Faith-Based Hope: (Heb. 1: 1-11, Rom. 10: 17-18) “Visions are about hopes, dreams, and aspirations. They are about our strong desire to achieve something great. They are ambitious. They are expressions of optimism” Christian and Elders experience times when the challenges seem impossible, but leaders find ways to express hope and reveal faith in God’s unfolding purpose.
- Establishing a clear, compelling vision will guide leaders’ efforts and keep them moving in a positive direction. “Vision sustains us in hard and troubled times, reminding us of the purpose behind our work”
- God-Given Passion Stirring Shared Vision When a congregation has found a shared vision through the leadership whom they trust, they will make tremendous personal sacrifices to support in making the vision a reality. It is the responsibility of leaders to see the possibilities of the future and to provide a positive climate for members to engage in unfolding, sharing that vision together. So, what keeps us from having a powerful vision in the church. When a congregation has found a shared vision through the leadership they trust, they will make tremendous personal sacrifices to making the vision a reality.”
BASIC LEADERSHIP STEPS TOWARD A CONGREGATIONAL VISION:
- The leaders seek to hear God’s heart through spiritual disciplines. (Through Reading good spiritual books, synergize and consider opinions of others etc.)
- The leaders observe human needs that “cry out” for solutions.
- A vision in response to the need begins to stir in the leader’s heart.
- The leaders invite others around him/her to join in the seeking and observing steps.
- The Journey of Applied Christian Leadership requires that the leader creates dialogue around the vision growing in their hearts.
- The leader captures the passion and focus of the expressed vision in words or images.
- The leader guides and appraise the formation of strategies to reach the vision.
- The leader continues to articulate the vision in ways that will align with people and resources for the accomplishment of the vision.
We should have a practical concern for the local Congregation to be functional through God approved visions. We will prayerfully put in place programs to nurture teachings alongside growing fellowship that will lead people into a deeper spiritual experience in the Congregation.
A Vision for growth in attendance will be encouraged through love, which allows us to expand our worship styles through visions in our worship service. This growth will stem from highly successful and committed leadership to celebrate the increase, both individually and collectively. It is great to see people spending time with God, when a congregation meet God’s approval in all her programs. We will become a growing church where all ages can grow in faith and receive spiritual support, and with a reputation for loving service to the local community where set visions are actualized. Our vision is, “to become a visible Congregation, with likeminded relationships with one another, building a spiritual legacy of for generations to come. Thanks, and God bless you all in Jesus name. Amen