By Jeremy Roberts
The vision for a local church answers the question, “What does God want us to do?” This answer must be given with clarity, consistency, and creativity.
When it comes to vision, mist in the pulpit leads to fog in the pew. This means that pastors must lead their churches to embrace a clear vision.
For every church, across the board, all over the world, their vision must include four things:
1. Reach lost people
Mark 16:15 says to go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. As you ponder the vision for the church you serve, does it pertain to reaching lost people for Jesus? I’m talking about reaching people locally, nationally, and internationally (e.g. Acts 1:8).
2. Pastor people we reach
Acts 20:28 says to care for the flock of God. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.[If your vision church’s doesn’t involve caring for people, it doesn’t reflect Jesus.]
You can have an extremely well-thought-out strategy to see a church grow, but if it doesn’t involve loving people and caring for them, it doesn’t reflect Jesus. Honestly, I’m blown away when people refer to a visit I made to see them in the hospital three or four years earlier. It sticks in people’s minds. They don’t remember the sermon I preached two weeks ago, but they remember a handwritten note I sent them two years ago.
3. Train them
Ephesians 4:12 says that church leaders are to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry.”
This reminds me of something a woman said to me in a church I previously served. I was new to the church, and she said, “Your job is to fill this sanctuary.” I hope the sanctuary of wherever I preach is filled, but that’s not my biblical calling as a pastor. I’m called to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. I’m to train them.
Training people should be done by many others besides the lead pastor of the church. It should be part of the vision to serve as a congregation of people constantly trained, then sent out to execute the vision for Jesus.
4. Get them to do something
Ephesians 6:7 says to “render service for the Lord.” This is a nice way of saying church members should get off their seats and do something.
Few things frustrate me in ministry more than folks who show up for several months or years, never attend community groups, never volunteer, and never give. Why? Because these people are neither following the Scriptures, nor are they following the vision that God has given us.
This post is not exclusive to just these four things that a vision should include, but they’re a good starting point. Do you have any additional thoughts on this? Let me know in the comment section below.
Jeremy Roberts is the Lead Pastor of Church of the Highlands in Chatanooga, TN, and author of multiple books.