I hope each person who attends Northstar had an opportunity to hear the vision message I gave on July 6. If not, I encourage you to listen to the message by going to northstar.cc. In this blog article, I am addressing our vision in more detail.
Without a vision, a business or a church is like a ship without a rudder and is in danger of drifting from task to task without a clear understanding of where the ship is headed. Our vision is the cornerstone for everything that we do as a church. I believe we have a compelling vision. The question is what are we going to do with it.
Which begs a question: Have we ever truly thought through why we are doing what we’re doing here at Northstar? I’m sure some of you have. But I believe that most of us have never taken the time to sit down and think about our vision for Northstar, let alone analyzed our role in that mission. Vision must precede strategy. Vision without strategy is wishful thinking. Strategy without vision is simply a way to organize busy work. We know our purpose (to glorify and serve God) and our mission (the very old mission of fulfilling the great commission) but how well do we understand the role of the church and the role of the individual in that vision.
All of us would agree that Northstar needs a clearly defined vision: our vision is “helping the whole world find and follow Jesus.” As I said on Sunday, the vision can be used to motivate us to foster the dynamic unity and align the resources necessary to carry out our purpose and mission. In other words, it should put all of us on the same page in our understanding of why we’re here and what we’re trying to accomplish. It should clearly, specifically, and concisely state for us what we believe God would have us to focus on to further His kingdom. We should constantly think about it, talk about it, refer to it, write about it, base our teaching on it, mention it, declare it, and do any other thing possible to have it at the forefront of everything we do here at Northstar. I don’t want to cast our church vision, I want to share the vision with all who call Northstar home.
We are a growing church. God has blessed us to be sure. But, I believe that if we as a Northstar family would truly embrace this vision and let it permeate everything we think, plan, and do, then Northstar would see truly radical growth. Not just growth in numbers, but spiritual growth as our members and regular attenders experience the life changing presence of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If we wholeheartedly embrace this vision for ministry and allow it to penetrate everything we do, there will most certainly be an immediate impact. Every aspect of our church family will be affected.
The question is not whether we have goals for our ministry, but whether we have a shared vision of what God wants to do in and through us. The vision is not about the Lead Pastor. When we are able to develop a shared vision, we can build something together.
A shared vision has far more lasting power than individual goals. God may well use a leader (Nehemiah and the wall comes to mind) to spark a vision of what could be, but for that vision to be successful it must be shared by those who are going to make it happen.
I have talked about vision a great deal. But I view it as my responsibility to clarify and communicate the vision of our church. I hope the vision to help the whole world find and follow Jesus motivates you.
I would ask that you think about how you can help us achieve our vision of helping the whole world find and follow Jesus. If you are looking for something a little more specific, consider what Luke 4:18-19 says: “ The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”