Frustrate Visionary Thinking
To impose a vision upon a church is not only unhealthy, but deadly to the genuine life of the church. I've seen it happen over and over again. Even a vision that is inspired by the community is a self-destructive force. What would it be like just to gather, worship, pray and teach the scripture, and love one another? To the modern mind, this isn't enough. The powerful prefer to see us not as human beings, but as commodities. They see this mass of people as a resource for a greater purpose. They are spiritual lobbyists who recognize the usefulness of groups to effect change. They are businessmen. They are not pastors. They aren't interested in the flock of God, but in the utilization of corporate power. Here are ways to frustrate visionary thinking in your church:
- It is one thing for individuals to have personal visions and dreams. It is the application of these to a community that is dangerous.
- Don't see the church group as an entity, but primarily a voluntary gathering of free individuals.
- Similarly, the church as an entity cannot fix people's problems or make their lives happy. It is their own responsibility that other individuals can assist in.
- Embrace diversity of thought and expression. Do not set goals for the church.
- Do not measure success in terms of numbers, money or reputation.
- See that mission is expressed individually. Each person is salt and light.
- Any corporate mission that is genuine will seem spontaneous and have an "of course" feeling to it.
- Share the oversight of the church. Avoid autocratic rule that provides the richest culture for visionary thinking.
- Don't pretend to know the future of the church prophetically, statistically or otherwise. You don't!
- Respect the pressure the people are under to want a king, to desire favor, and to think in terms of marketing to promote success. Almost all the literature available is written by successful pastors of successful churches. But don't bow to this pressure.