A Vision of Hope

A Vision of Hope

Vision, a word which has found its way into so many different uses in the English language. Most of us will spend some of our lives in front of the tele-vision.

We might have our eyes tested at Vision Express.

When we’re preparing for exams we might be involved in re-vision.

We might talk of people with lots of new ideas as being ‘visionary’.

You’ll probably be able to think of lots more.

The common thread is all to do with seeing. And that’s what vision is – clear sight.

It seems like so many organisations these days have something like a Vision statement. Companies, schools, charities, even churches have vision statements.

But why?  Is it because they’re in vogue, and because they’re the ‘in thing?’

Surely this talk of vision is just a modern and passing trend?

Well, yes, it may be a bit of a trend, but it’s a trend we can trace back to at least 700 years BC, probably a lot longer ago than that.

That’s when the book of Proverbs was first written down and in that book, chapter 29 we find this verse:

‘Without a vision, the people perish.’

Without looking ahead with clear sight, without a guiding sense of purpose and direction, no group of people, certainly no movement can exist for long.

Last year’s Team conference saw Bob Jackson talking about two types of churches; the Magic Roundabout church and the Gospel Train church.

A Magic Roundabout church will go round in circles, doing the same thing the same way, year in year out.

A Gospel train church is a church with direction. It’s on a journey; with a clear idea of where it’s headed.

Bob’s message was stark: A magic roundabout church is unhealthy and will decline. A gospel train church is healthy and will grow.

Research very much bears this out. The terminology isn’t important but the principle is:

To be a healthy, vibrant and growing church we need to seek God’s vision for the future. We need to discern who he’s asking us to be and what he’s asking us to do. This is something a healthy church will keep coming back to, seeking God and refining the vision as time goes by.

The PCC have been thinking about this over the last few months. Why are we here? What is our purpose? What is God saying to us about engaging with a fast changing world?

The wider congregation began to think about this at the end of February and it is our aim to produce a simple vision statement which focuses us all on what is really important to God. Above all we are His church and we want to be nothing less than all he wants us to be.

Once we have a statement we can all rally round (it may need a few explanatory sentences to go along with it initially) then we can begin the task of planning for the future, developing our plans in areas such as Worship and Prayer, Pastoral care, Mission (evangelism and social action), Children’s and Youth work.

The PCC have also decided to undertake a community survey of our parish after Easter. This will enable us to discover what local people really care about and what their needs are. More on this next month!

In addition to this, from this spring the PCC will meet only every 2 months, freeing up time for people to get involved in the planning groups mentioned above. A standing committee will deal with any urgent issues in-between meetings.

This promises to be an exciting time and we hope many people will get involved in planning for the future health and growth of our church.

I have said on many occasions that I believe the local church to be the hope of the world. This is something I believe in passionately. Let’s work together to be a shining light and a beacon of hope in a world which can sometimes feel so very dark.

With love in Christ