I am grateful for my vision. With my vision I am able to see things, beautiful things that God has made. With my vision I am able to work and doing what I do to earn a living. Thanks be to God! With my vision I am able to read God's Word, which has truly been a blessing and has been essential in my growth as a follower of Christ. With my vision I have been able to see both of my children being born and, come this November, I will have seen both of them get married. Having vision is a wonderful thing, in most cases. In some things however, vision can be a BAD thing.
Have you ever heard of something called "casting visions" or "vision casting"? I have. Larger companies like to "vision cast" when they are trying to figure out which direction they want to go as a company or when they are searching for ways to achieve a specific goal. That's good I guess. It's good to have a plan anyway.
Lately I have seen those same visioning terms appearing in church bulletins and on church schedules all over the country. "Apparently churches want to have visions just like the big companies do. But why? Isn't everything we need "visioning" for already in the Bible?
There are lots of visions in the Harry Potter movies. Harry had a vision of Lord Voldemort killing his parents and attacking some other guy character. There were all kinds of "spiritual" things in his visions. Of course, Harry Potter practises witchcraft, not Christianity.
If you were to Google "witchcraft visions" for example you can find all kinds of books and articles on "Magic, Witchcraft and Dark Shamanism" but is that the kind of "visioning" that's appearing in our churches? Well, I certainly hope not! But when witches and churches use the same words to describe what they do, it can be confusing. Perhaps instead of "vision casting" we could substitute another word that might be better suited to what we need. How about . . . prayer.
I think there is something wrong with "vision meetings" in our churches. Here's a couple of questions that keep going through my mind as I ponder this issue. Isn't the only "vision" that is required already appearing in God's Word? And doesn't God already have a vision for His church? Of course He does! ! I read it every day!! It's called the Bible.
I imagine proponents of these vision meetings would say something like "Well, we need to plan for the future, we need to chart out our course as a church and have a focus for the congregation to follow."
To that I would respond, "God already has a perfect vision, and no matter how hard we might desire to come up with plans and visions of our own, we never will. Here's an idea. Why don't we just follow HIS plan? It's worked pretty good so far and for thousands of years. Why try to improve or redefine it now? Did we just all of a sudden learn something new?
If you Google "casting visions" the first link that appears is entitled Rick Warren and Vision Casting. Hmm. That's weird. Let's read. Here's a quote from the article (which is actually just one person's blog. Kind of like mine). But this is a quote from Rick Warren.
"I know my leadership style. I am a big-picture, vision-casting leader. . . . There is nothing inherently right or wrong about being a vision-casting leader. It is simply the way God wired me." - Rick Warren
So . . . Rick Warren is an admitted "vision casting" leader. Hmm. I wonder if Rick's congregation places their faith in Him rather than God? "Don't be silly Bob! He merely has a plan for his church. He's not leading anyone astray." Really . . . When people go to these meetings do they hear from Rick or do they hear from God? Are they listening to visions from God? Or are they listening to visions from men?
I think there is too much similarity between "casting visions" and "vision casting." People are getting confused. When a church tells its people they are holding a visioning meeting, whose vision are they coming to hear? Well, they're going to hear the pastors vision or the vision of the elder board. They are going to a vision meeting to hear MAN'S vision for their church. What about God's vision for His church? Don't we already have that written down for us somewhere? I thought only Jesus has the authority and the power to cast visions for the church.
In the Book of Acts there is a vision of what a church should do? They had a plan for the future. It was provided by Jesus (God) and implemented by His disciples . . . preach the gospel of Jesus, his crucifixion, death and resurrection. Preach the gospel of sin and repentance to all nations. Perhaps instead of "Vision" meetings churches should conduct "implementation" meetings. That's an awesome idea!!
But just in case churches still want to follow a corporate example, here's a nice little vision casting idea, It's from a large corporation (Nike). We could used in all of our churches today . . .
Preach the Gospel . . .
"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." - Revelation 22:14-15
Be Thou My Vision - Selah