A Theology of Vision

by Rev. Alan Rudnick

PictureA plan for the future is always a challenge, especially when it deals with resources. The former CEO, Alan Schwartz of defunct investment bank Bear Stearns was apparently delusional in March 2008 when he stated that things were going fine with the faltering investment bank:
“Bear Stearns’ balance sheet, liquidity and capital remain strong… Our liquidity position has not changed at all, our balance sheet has not changed at all…”
Less than two days after Schwartz spoke these words, Bear Stearns filed for bankruptcy.

How can someone be so delusional and dense?  No wonder no one wants to trust governmental or business leaders these days.  With stuff like this going on, who wants to?  When things are going well or when things are going bad there has to be a plan for the future.

Many of us like to think we have a plan, but do we really have a sound plan for our futures?

On May 20 and June 10, our congregation will be meeting to consider crafting a vision statement.  Our church has learned the critical aspects of vision, planning, and leadership:

Leaders do not need to have all the right answers.  Leaders need to ask the right questions. On the surface, this seems like a very unnerving statement, but asking the right questions produces the right direction. Leaders can still have some ideas about planning and vision, but first must ask questions.  Jesus asked all sorts of questions: Who do you say I am? What is truth? Who are you looking for? Why are you afraid?  These questions led to reflection, clarity, and understanding.

Vision comes from God. Most think pastors are responsible for vision. However, from scripture we see that God always provides the vision.  Leaders and prophets make sure it happens and the people catch on to the vision.

Planning includes everyone. Sure the pastor has ideas about planning for vision, but the congregation does as well.  The congregation, pastors, and the community can all be flows of information from God.  Everyone must be included in the planning process.

Moving from fear to faith. We become anxious about a lot things in our life.  Jeremiah was presented with a financial deal in Jeremiah chapter 32.  God wanted him to buy property at high prices.  The future looked grim for that property’s value because it was going to fall quickly with the instability of Israel’s future. Jeremiah looked past the economic forecast and trusted God.  Moving from fear to faith.

A vision statement must be compelling and challenging. You might come to one of our congregation vision meetings and look at our vision statement and say, “Wow! This statement means we’ll have to change a few things.” If you made that statement, you know we are headed in the right direction. God has always renewed his people for the next chapter in the story. It’s time we begin writing the next chapter. Paul in his pastoral epistles challenged his readers to live into a new reality in Jesus Christ.

I hope you will join us after church on May 20 and June 10 for lunch and reflection. May God walk with us on this journey of vision.

With all Love and Grace,
Rev. Alan Rudnick

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