As a pastor, I have been asked the question, “What is your vision for the church?” With my left hand I scratched the back of my head, with my right hand I tapped my closed Bible on my lap. All the while I tried to look like I was taking the question seriously.
It didn’t work. My attempt at looking like I was taking it seriously failed. So with brow furrowed, and eyes fixed in steely determination, I said I had a vision “…to be church!” The looks that I faced! Be the church? We’ve tried that you idiot, what else you got?
True vision is not concocting some nonsense you dreamed up on a good day when the sun was shining and the kids were behaving. True vision is the steely determination to insist that church vision requires not articulating some utopian future that always ends up becoming a dystopian reality, but rather insisting that the church simply keeps on doing what it has always done in 2000 years of trying.
In this sense it is a vision of the old, not a vision of the new. This way I can claim no credit, only learn within the community I am placed, to live what it means to be here and now with these people. Learning the language of the Gospel; learning how to pray; refusing to be content with the basics but actually desiring more, well….content!
The biblical vision for being the Church is far, far greater than anything our puny brains can dream up. It’s the very thing we need rescuing from! If you want vision, read the Bible.