The Vision Thing - Continued

Vision in local churches is usually defined as the "big idea" that gives shape to the activities and emphases of the church.

In practice, it is often defined by a "senior" leader. In it's crudest form, the leader's vision effectively becomes the church's vision - or at least the church's stated vision. There are other ways that vision is defined and articulated, but most are leadership-centered to a greater or lesser degree.

This style of leadership bears similarities to the CEO-model of management in the majority of secular business corporations and organizations. In them, the CEO's role includes "vision casting" - defined as communicating to the organization the emphasis that the organization has for its future - either in the coming year or longer-term.

One of my concerns with this model is how difficult it is to find in the new testament. Nowhere in Paul's letters, for instance, do we find the apostle encouraging his readers to "stay focused on the vision that God has given them as a local church." In his farewell meeting with the Ephesian elders, there is not a mention of the concept of the church in Ephesus having a corporate vision. Paul's preoccupation rather is that these men "keep watch" over the flock and act as "shepherds" of the church of God.

Now that's a vision that I could be excited by.


Tom Foster said...

When there is talk of vision and the church, my mind is drawn to places like Acts 7 and Eph 3. This seems to be the manner in which the big vision is shared with the people - orientating them in God's eternal plan and purpose for the church. To me this always draws me back to a more accurate understanding of who God is, where I once stood and now stand in relation to him, then inevitably into repentance, grace, and worship. I shiver at talks which focus on 'innovation', and vision, in part, because by focusing on them I never find them.

Andrew Leakey said...

Thanks Al, I fully agree. I believe the role of elders is to help the whole church become all God intends, and to grow into maturity. Rather than focussing people on the leaders vision, instead enabling them to discover their God-given identity, using the gifts He has given them and becoming all He wants them to be. Any vision we do have needs to be broad enough to allow people the freedom to be themselves in Christ. As you say, sounds much more like being Fathers than managers or directors......