Have you ever been a part of a church or organization that gave little thought to the future, or more specifically, what they wanted the future to look like and how they were going to be a part of making that reality? There may have been much action but little focused direction. Or there may have been hardly any action at all since there was no unity around where to head. You’re probably not unfamiliar with these situations and experienced frustration in them. In short, there was lack of vision.
Jim Collins calls vision: “what we aspire to become, to achieve, to create – something that will require significant change and progress to attain.”
We might say that vision is what takes the other motivations we’ve talked about here and harnesses them to strain forward together towards a common object. One may have joy, a sense of duty, that it is right, love for others and a sense of the Love of Christ in their own life. But without vision, what of all this? We end up with half-hazard actions, half-finished projects, and little to show for our labors at the end of the day.
In Acts we see the Apostles had a vision regarding their evangelistic work. They never worked ad hoc. They had strategy, an end goal and it was from the Lord.
-Acts 10: Peter had a vision to evangelize the Gentiles – And this motivated him to carry it out
-Acts 15: James had a clear vision and determination to facilitate the advancement of the Gospel.
-Philippians 3, and Romans 15: Paul had a vision for his own personal life (“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”), and a vision for his work in service of the Lord (to preach where Christ had not been named).
Without a fresh vision to build the church on the conversion of sinners, the church will most likely struggle and possibly lose its sight. What’s in your sights right now? What kind of future do you envision and why? And where is that vision from?
Ben Stafford is the Director of Short-Term Ministries, overseeing the logistics and vision of all the short-term trips as well as representing TLI to students, teachers, and other organizations. Before joining TLI, Ben was the Director of Programs at the Foundation for Economic Education where he oversaw the educational events geared towards high school and college students. His work primarily involved strategic planning, managing, and measuring the department’s resources and results, bringing the programs department to a new level. Previously, he worked as a research intern for two summers at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. He still teaches students of all ages about business and economics on the side.
Ben graduated in 2008 from Hillsdale College with a degree with Economics. He enjoys real food, barefoot runs, playing classical guitar, climbing mountains, and international travel. More than all these, he echoes the sentiment of Jonathan Edwards in that God’s purpose for his life is that he have a passion for God’s glory and that he has a passion for his joy in that glory, and that these two are one passion.
He currently resides in Atlanta, GA where he is actively involved with the saints at Perimeter Church.
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