So, it appears that my previous post really struck a nerve. Good. I firmly believe that unless we are brutally honest with our efforts, environments, and surroundings…we will never grow beyond where we are. We must never settle for mediocrity or mundane expressions of faith because the Gospel has revealed to us a new way of living; existing with purpose, design, creativity, compassion, grace, and hope. To reduce this to stale church environments and fleeting influence in our culture and community is to undermine the purpose of God for the sake of our comfort zones.
If you’ve become awakened to lack of vision in your faith community, you are more necessary than you might imagine. This is not a fad, or a church strategy…there is something more at stake. “Without vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) We might paraphrase that to say: For a church to exist without a specific vision, that community will reciprocate death rather than calling into life. So, if the last post opened your eyes to see that vision is lacking in your faith community…here is what you
can MUST do, whether you are a leader or not:
- Question everything, out loud. Be forewarned, this will not make you popular. It’s necessary to question these things out loud, rather than inwardly, so that you can gain an understanding of the inner workings of your church environments and efforts. Often (in a church without vision), you’ll find that people are over-protective of the sacred cows…and are usually just doing things the way they’ve always been done, for the sake of doing them. This sounds harsh…and, I don’t mean for it to be judgmental. This is simply the reality in a church lacking vision. If you find no real vision, or purpose, behind the answers for your questions, you should…
- Seek counsel and mentoring. If you seek to change things, listen to people who have changed things. Inhale every book, blog, voice, and tweet possible about the things you are questioning. Listen to other leaders tell their stories. Become knowledgeable on the subject…the internet is making this more simple everyday. Don’t become known as a critic, but become known as an expert. Find a strong mentor to vent frustration, pray with, and offer wise counsel. The mark of a good leader is knowing when and how to listen, and how to filter the noise.
- Develop strong visions of “why.” This is the single most important question for the leader of any movement, organization, church, or effort: Why is this necessary? Answer specifically, and your environments will inspire and generate buy-in. Answer vaguely, and your environments will sputter, un-inspire, and suffer catastrophically. Your answer to the “why” will give you a solid launching point to create, plan, implement, and evaluate.
- Create art in the negative spaces. Trust me…if you’re questioning everything considered sacred, there’ll be plenty of negative spaces. A leader that flounders is a leader that reacts negatively to negative situations. In these negative instances, live beautifully by exhibiting grace, forgiveness, and truth. Your vision is too important to be executed by your ego. Remember that people are where we’ve led them, and that is our fault…not theirs. Begin to create a new environment (maybe a small group, or a worship night) which resembles the “why”, and invite as many people as possible to experience. Become a grassroots initiative to re-imagine and re-invest in God’s calling for your church.
- Never settle for less than what’s possible. All along this journey, you’ll be attacked. People will call you names, speak poorly of you, question your motives, look for things in your personal life to discredit you, and try everything to silence you. Do not let this discourage you. Pursue what God desires above what men have created.
One last caveat: You can do this. Rise up, dream, and move. There’s too much at stake to remain silent and still due to fear. It’s time to be a revolutionary. Who’s in?