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!