Nothing compares to the moment a hearty laugh with a church team immediately shifts into a deeply poignant moment of congregational insight.
For one team, this happened in the midst of a common exercise on the front end of Auxano’s Vision Framing process. A connecting exercise that begins with a simple, yet insightful question… If our church was a car, what make and model would we be?
Of course, the only appropriate follow-up question, if the answer has not already been revealed, is “Why?”
In this instance, the Pastor began to describe an older model Station Wagon. The team then developed the rest of this polariod-era picture, complete with plastic decal “wood” paneling, a black-cloud emitting diesel engine, and stick to your bare summer legs vinyl seat covers. For every leader in the room of appropriate age, the third row back seat evoked knowing smiles of michevious childhoods. Who didn’t love that rear-facing view as a kid?
As the laughter waned, the Pastor then went on with his “Why” explanation.
“Many of our leaders would rather be more focused on where we have been. And if we were honest, many really enjoy harassing others who moving faster than us down the road ahead… There are days when I feel like very few of us are facing the same direction looking forward.”
It is not scriptural, but still accurate to say that “where there is no vision, the people cherish.”
They cherish the past, because they do not have a clear picture of the future.
They cherish where we have been, without a vision of where God leads ahead.
They cherish the comfort of the known, without hope that transcends the unknown.
They cherish the tools and resources provided to accomplish our calling, rather than the actual calling.
The magnetic attraction of a living and active vision of the future, much more than just a one-liner vision statement, becomes instantaneously clear.
Calling leaders to face forward through the windshield toward the horizons of God’s preferred future, is not easy. Getting a fast-moving team to slow-down and think long feels impossible.
After all, looking backward from the third row was pretty fun… but leaders look forward.
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That use of “vision” in Proverbs 29:18 is the Word of God, not charismatic dreams. God has given us the vision in his Word.
Garrett – I think I understand what you mean, but would like you to explain more… do you mean that Pastors are not to cast vision then? Because the actual Hebrew word in that verse is chazown – meaning a divine revelation if I remember correctly. Looking forward to hearing more about your thoughts here. -B
Hi Bryan — The meaning of חָזוֹן (chazown) is context dependent, as with all translations really. HALOT (the leading lexicon of original-language OT words) lists the options as either (1) vision or (2) word of revelation. Though the HALOT editors choose #1, I think there’s a better case for #2 given the context (see below).
It’s also odd that vision-casting advocates have chosen the KJV translation on which to pin their interpretation of Prov 29.18, as its translation “perish” appears unique among all other English translations (as far as I can tell). Virtually all others say something to the effect of “cast off restraint.” I thought I would find the answer to this in the LXX rather than the Hebrew text, but even that is better translated towards the people becoming lawless.
What is most damaging to vision casting in Prov 29.18, however, is the abuse of how the proverb itself interprets “vision.” By parallelism, the verse itself tells us that the vision itself is תּוֹרָה (torah / “law” or “instruction”). This is best understood as the first definition, i.e. the written Word.
So even outside of cessationism vs. continuationism, old vs. new covenant, different dispensations, etc., Prov. 29.18 is in no sense whatsoever arguing for pastors to cast vision. Rather, the proverb tells us that people who obey the written Word are blessed, and people who do not obey the written word are lawless.