It is a strange irony that vision is one of the hardest things to see in the church.
We see lots of stuff in the church, but vision is without a doubt the hardest thing to see. I am not entirely sure why that is, but it is a fact.
And even when we grasp the vision, it often fades over time if it is not constantly renewed.
At Bedford Road, we have a simple vision statement:
Creating environments where people encounter Jesus and journey together.
But what does it mean? How can we make that vision a reality. In other words, what does the vision look like.
Let me try to explain.
The vision has three main components: creating environments, encountering Jesus and journeying together. These three components are the vision but let’s dig a little deeper into them.
Encountering Jesus: The Central Element
The central element is encountering Jesus. It always has been and it always will be. It does not matter if you’re a new believer, a non-believer, or a believer with more life experience than Noah. You need to be continually encountering Jesus. That’s what church is all about.
We have jelled the encounters of Jesus into three broad categories:
- I encounter Jesus as my Savior.
- I encounter Jesus as our Master.
- We encounter Jesus as our Model.
In other words, Jesus saves us, leads us and shows us how to live. The purpose of the church then is to constantly be opening doors and creating spaces for people to encounter Jesus in these ways.
Creating Environments: The Spaces
Every encounter with Jesus occurs in one of three spaces or environments that we intentionally create:
- Corporate environment – the large scale things like Sunday worship gatherings and special events.
- Intimate environments – the mid-range environments where only a few people gather, like a Bible study or prayer group but also mentoring relationships where we work one-on-one
- Personal environments – the place where you, personally, meet with God and practice spiritual disciplines like reading the Word of God and repenting of sin
We don’t try to create environments where there is little or no encounter with Jesus. There are plenty of those.
Journeying Together: Taking Action
What do we do in these environments? What is expected of us as part of the congregation? Here is where the rubber meets the road. In these environments, we encounter Jesus along the journey in four disciplines:
All four are DIRECTIONAL.
The first two are vertical. Worship is gathering together to give praise to the Lord and to hear his Word. It is the people of God rising up to speak to God. This is tempered with the people of God kneeling down before God.
The second two are horizontal. Giving is just that – sacrificially presenting part of what God has given to me back to God for the purpose of funding the ministry of the congregation. It is our putting in. Serving is our going out, doing whatever God has for the congregation to do. It is not about finding a comfy ministry. It is about doing the vision.