This upcoming Sunday will be a foundational one at Agape. Breakfast as normal begins our day at 10am, then we undertake a two part series where we will be clearly and specifically laying out the vision and direction that we believe God is leading us to in 2011. These will be messages that are based in scripture, but that end in specific action steps that we believe God is calling us to. In the past, I have preached a vision message or two in churches before, and I have sat and listened to more than a dozen. There are two pitfalls that are common to vision and direction messages: 1: They are too general. 2. The goals they set are rarely realized.
One thing that has been missing in my own vision communications and those of others I have heard is specificity – as in specific steps and direction. For instance, it is easy to say that God is calling us to a greater focus on evangelism in 2011, but that is such a general statement, that it could almost mean anything. It is also such a general statement that it is unlikely to be measurable or doable. Think of a New Year’s resolution. One could say, “I resolve to be healthier in 2011.” That is a good goal, but it is so general and nebulous, that it will be difficult at the end of 2011 to look back and see if the goal has been met. A more specific goal would be – I need to lose x pounds of weight, and begin walking/running/jogging/biking x amount of miles per week. This is measurable, and more specific.
Which brings us to our second difficulty in vision communications: Like New Years resolutions, the goals that are set forth are not often met. How many times have we set a goal of greater fitness and weight loss in a year, and worked hard for a month or two, but failed? (In my case – more than once). Goals are nice to have, but they need to be met. Every football team wants to win the national championship each year, but only one does. That tells us that are goals have to be realistic and achievable, but there is more. Since we are the Body of Christ – we do not have the privilege of setting our own visions or goals. Jesus, not a person or group of people, is the head of His church. Therefore – we need to understand His vision for His church, and follow it. What benefit does that have? Many – but here’s the chief one: when we do things as a body of believers that are led by God, and according to His will, and we do them prayerfully, then we are assured of those things being done. How do I know? John 14: 13 “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” A twice repeated promise is found here, and we must listen to it!
You might be asking – what does this practically mean for us? Will this be more change – less change? Some people like change, and some people resist change. In this particular case, that is immaterial, because following God isn’t about change. It is about following and conforming. Paul puts it like this in Galatians 5:25, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit ” What a wonderful concept – walking step by step with the Spirit. Let us be faithful to do that in 2011!
In addition, a young lady named Charish visited us on Sunday, December 19 (our last Sunday meeting, due to last week’s snow out). During that meeting, she responded to the call of God on her heart, and was gloriously saved. This Sunday, she has invited her whole family (and some extended family) to come celebrate her baptism, and we will be doing this by surrounding the baptistery, and cheering loudly when she goes down in the water. This is not something to be missed, and I believe it will be a baptism that will have long lasting implications at Agape – come and see why this Sunday!
All for now – come join us Sunday to hear what we believe to be God’s vision and direction for us in 2011!