August is Vision month at our church. Why you might ask? Haven’t we been there done that?
At the beginning of July, Bowen & I attended the Hillsong Conference in Sydney which was a great experience not just for us to get some great teaching, not just to learn the mechanics of how others do church but also for the 2 of us to have a chance to talk about our church. During one of the breaks we wandered up to the pub for a bite to eat and a chat. As we were talking about what we had been thinking or inspired by, I said to Bowen that one of the things that I had been thinking and praying about was whether or not we should do a reboot of our parish vision. As I asked him the question he looked kind of sheepish and then asked in reply: “is our vision still to be a church known for its relationships?” When I said yes he looked kind of relieved and I instantly had my answer… yes we do need to relook, reinforce and reboot our vision… but yes our vision is still the same: we are called to be a church known for its relationships: our relationships with God, our relationships with each other, and our relationships with our community.
I do believe it is important to reinforce the vision, but I know I have been guilty of going too lightly in this over the last few years… It’s just ticked over 4 years since we launched our vision and strategic plan and we are still very much locked into this and working towards it. I know I banged on about it for at least 6 months hoping that I could drum it into everyone’s heads and hearts but then I hoped and prayed we all got it and got on with it, which to a large extent we have.
It did occur to me however, that the church we were 4 years ago is quite different to the church we are today, if in nothing other than the people we have coming. We have had a significant number of new people join since we launched the vision, and even though I do hope they have caught it by osmosis from the people of this church, it is important that we are all working towards the same vision, whether your first Sunday was last week or 21 years ago.
Our reason for re-looking at our vision has nothing to do with raising the money for our proposed redevelopment, so you can breathe a sigh of relief that we won’t be talking about raising funds every Sunday in August, but it does have everything to do with us as a community discerning whether the things we do moving forward, including any future development, are held accountable to that vision. If it does not move us closer to what God is calling us to, then we should not do it. This month we get a chance to really dig into that which we believe God is calling us to, so we a better prepared to make those decisions.
Don’t expect me to be giving you all the answers, however… part of realising our vision is an individual realisation that every single person, regardless of age or stage has an integral part to play in the vision and mission of the church and when even one person is unable to exercise their part, for whatever reason, our impact is lessened. August is about us understanding more specifically, and more clearly the things that we each can do, or perhaps in some cases stop doing. So I am praying for and believing that God will be touching many hearts and minds with Holy Spirit inspired ideas, dreams and visions all of which move us closer to becoming the church we are called to be.
August is also our birthday month, we are 21 this month… it’s time to be an adult and take responsibility. I also pray that there will be a maturing of our vision this month and that we might clearly see pathways that we can individually and collectively take that make Jesus known to our community because we realise how much we are loved by God, we love each other in response and we pour out a generous overflow of that love into our community through acts of service.
I’m excited about the month ahead, I hope you are too! See you in church!