Look at the following images. Which one most resembles your vision for mission and ministry in the church?
There are visions, then there are visions. Let’s take a look at the various types of vision in our church and what impact they have on our overall effectiveness.
Magoo-Vision is walking through life with our eyes wide-closed. All we can see is what is right in front of our faces. We tend to only go where we have been before, often feeling our way along through the familiar and well known. At times, we’re completely blind, but much of the time we might as well be. We see no new possibilities, we can’t see the horizon, and we’re never sure where we’re going. Magoo-vision keeps us stuck in the present, trying to relive the past.
Droopy-Vision is lazy, complacent, satisfied, and sleepy. We see no real need to change anything, and we only do those things that require the very least energy or sacrifice. Just as when we are falling asleep, drooping eyes cause us to miss a lot of what is going on around us, and we intentionally block out distracting sights and sounds that might keep us awake. Droopy-vision doesn’t take us anywhere — it’s too much trouble. We use all of our time, energy, resources and planning to take care of the existing congregation and the ministries that serve them.
Orphan Annie-Visionis classic “light’s are on but nobodies home,” vision — blank stare, glazed eyes, pleasant, positive, and clueless. We know we should be doing something good, we simply don’t know what it is, how to figure it out, and how to get people involved if and when we do. LOA (Little Orphan Annie) churches are happy, friendly, nice places, but not necessarily making much of an impact on the community and world. Orphan Annie-Vision often confuses being “Christian” with being “nice.”
Garfield-Vision(Fat Cataractitis) confuses dreaming with vision. A dream can be a pleasant escape (or a terrible nightmare…) but it isn’t real, and very rarely attainable. Sleeping churches may wish they could do something meaningful, but first they need to wake up. Vision requires prayer, discernment, meditation, and silence — all dangerous to the terminally sleepy. We may get plenty of rest with Garfield-Vision, but not much else.
Tex Avery Terror-Vision sees the world as a horrifyingly dangerous place and the future as something to be avoided at all cost. Change of almost any kind is seen as the enemy, and novelty and innovation is to weeded out and destroyed. 1955 was the last good year in the church according to Terror-Visionaries — if we could just get back to the fifties everything would be just fine. We want new members, as long as they are just like the old members. We want to grow, as long as we don’t have to change. We want to witness to Christ as long as we don’t have to say anything or leave the building…
Tex Avery Hubba Hubba-Vision is full of excitement, interest, energy, passion, and desire. We cannot get enough of the future or the possibilities it holds. We’re overwhelmed by how attractive and beautiful life can be, and we are willing to get deeply involved. The level of engagement and investment in realizing the vision is incredible. The vision of the future is so compelling that no one can see anything else!
Categories: Church Leadership, Vision
Thank you. I will find someone in the church who knows how to use the pictures, etc., to modify this poll for our two congregations. Sincerely Yours. Earl.
My first thought was to add a few more visions: the “The Wile E. Coyote vision” of trying one item after another to achieve our dream. The “Popeye Vision” of waiting until we are nearly defeated before turning to our trusty can of spinach (prayer – Holy Spirit power). The “Superman Vision” of truth, justice, and the American Way that mires us in political discussions instead of transforming the discussion.
My second thought was “Where are the positive examples? Are there positive examples?” Something for me to reflect on and think about as I prepare to move to a new congregation in late July.
I am not “web savy.” This poll is helpful. With permission I would like to use it with some congregational small groups. Who would one contact for such permission and how can one reproduce this poll for such use? Would one be able to expand this poll to include other critical characters such as Foghorn Leghorn, Popeye the Sailor, the Pink Panther and the Road Runner?
You have my permission. I made it up partially for fun and partially to hold up a mirror to the way we look at things. Feel free to use it as is helpful. You could do a paper survey, use an easy web form like Survey Monkey (just type “survey monkey” into the search box) or use Microsoft Access or Excel.