I’ve Got Rhythm

Duke Ellington, the late jazz musician, composer and bandleader, was once asked to provide a definition of rhythm. “If you got it,” he replied, “you don’t need no definition. And if you don’t have it, ain’t no definition gonna help.” Vision is very similar. Once you have it, you know it; but when you don’t have it, you aren’t sure what it will be like.”

There are many definitions of “vision” and over the next few days I will be recording a number of them. Let’s start today with my favorite. Vision is “foresight with insight based on hindsight.” This definition underscores the important of looking to the future, emphasizes the significance of possessing a keen awareness of current circumstances and possibilities, and notes the value of learning from the past

Too often we look at our talents and skills, our situation and circumstances and build a vision by discussion and consensus. This process leads to a human vision found first in the heart and mind of man. What we need, as local churches, is a vision birthed in the heart of God and revealed to the leader by the Holy Spirit. The same is true for each individual’s vision of their ministry in the church and through the church into the world. Both must be birthed in the heart of God and revealed to the heart of each disciple of the Lord.

Pouring our time and resources into our best ideas can leave a church and the people of that church flat. The decision to run on no vision or man’s vision is to ignore God’s best and is both an act of disobedience (by rejecting His will) and an act of strategic ineptitude – by leaving a myriad of untapped opportunities untapped. Man’s vision or no vision – a total waste of time and resources.

Here is how it is suppose to work according to the Bible. The leader receives the vision for the ministry that he or she is leading. The Holy Spirit will reveal to the leader the full extent of the plans and purpose of God for the church that they are leading. This is also always a match for the personal vision of the leader for their ministry. After all, God has called and placed the leader in that specific church at this strategic time so their personal vision and the corporate vision must mess together. As well, because the Holy Spirit tells us in 1 Corinthians 12 that every member is placed in a body (church) by God we also can conclude that the individual’s vision for their life and ministry will also fit within the larger vision for the local church.

However, this leads to a number of obvious issues which we will look at in the obvious issues regarding vision….

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