A specialist was hired by the Board of Directors of a company to develop and present a series of half-day training seminars on empowerment and teamwork for the managers of a large international oil company. Fifteen minutes into the first presentation, he took a headlong plunge into the trap of assumption. With great intent, he laid the groundwork for what he considered the heart of empowerment-team-building, family, and community. He praised the need for energy, commitment, and passion for production. At what he thought was the appropriate time, he asked the group of 40 managers the simple question on which he was to ground his entire talk: “What is the vision of your company?” No one raised a hand. The speaker thought they might be shy, so he gently encouraged them. The room grew deadly silent. Everyone was looking at everyone else, and he had a sinking sensation in his stomach. “Your company does have a vision, doesn’t it?” he asked. A few people shrugged, and a few shook their heads. He was dumbfounded. How could any group or individual strive toward greatness and mastery without a vision? That’s exactly the point. They can’t. They can maintain, they can survive; but they can’t expect to achieve greatness without vision.
Look at God, he chooses through bring our salvation through vision. The greatest gift was given to humanity through vision. In John 3:16 he tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” “Car Dieu a tant aime le monde qu’il a donne son Fils unique afin que quiconque croit en Lui ne perisse point mais qu’il ait la vie eternal.” He communicates this vision to Joseph the husband of Mary before Jesus is even BORN! Gospel of Matthew chapter 1:21 states 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Jesus,[i] because He will save His people from their sins.” FRENCH “elle enfantera un fils, et tu lui donneras le nom de Jésus; c’est lui qui sauvera son peuple de ses péchés.”
Fast forward thirty years later, Jesus returns to his hometown Nazareth after declaring and living the vision in many other places and being acclaimed. He says in the synagogue (Translate to Creole the following)
“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,
because He has anointed Me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me[l] to proclaim freedom[m] to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.[n][o]
20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.
That’s a clear vision and mission statement.
Then Luc 19:10 “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Then John 14:6 – I am the way the truth and the life.
There many other examples but Jesus is always communicating the vision and the values associated with that vision.
Why is vision so important ? (Ask your neighbor) Vision is important because it (1) reminds us about our future so we don’t distracted with the present. (2) Vision takes the focus off a person or a group of people and puts it on a message. Jesus didn’t start the church, he let the disciples do it so the focus would be on the gospel and NOT the leaders. It is the message that has us here, the vision. That’s a sermon for another day. Thirdly, Vision, Forces us to ask the right questions as we evaluate ourselves (3)
Apostle Paul encourages the Corinthian church and all Christians in the 2nd Letter chapter 13:5 to exam ourselves to see if we are in the faith. That’s what we are going to focus on today. We need to take a quick look at some questions that go to our title:
“Are you in the Vision?”
Visionaries asks the right questions. There are three levels of questions that I want to focus on today. Questions for leaders. Questions for members. Questions for outsiders. Whenever there is an organization, there will be questions. The key is to ask the right questions so that the answers can be useful.
(SLIDE #4) I HAVE 3 QUESTIONS FOR LEADERSHIP:
(SLIDE # 5)
(1) What is the organization’s current direction? John the Baptist had a question for Jesus just like this. While he is in prison he sends his disciples to question his cousin. Luke 7:20 – Are you the one that we’ve been looking for or should we look for another? In other words: Where are you going Jesus? What’s going on? What’s the progress with the vision? Are you really following the vision?
What is Jesus’ answer: Luke 7:21 At that time Jesus healed many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and He granted sight to many blind people. 22 He replied to them, “Go and report to John the things you have seen and heard: The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed,[g] the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news. 23 And anyone who is not offended because of Me is blessed.” Lè sa a, Jezi t’ap geri anpil moun malad ak anpil moun enfim, li t’ap wete yo anba pouvwa move lespri, li t’ap fè anpil avèg wè ankò.
22 Apre sa, li reponn moun Jan Batis te voye yo konsa: Ale rakonte Jan sa nou sot wè ak sa nou sot tande la a: je avèg yo louvri, moun ki t’ap bwete yo mache byen, moun ki te gen maladi lalèp yo geri, moun soudè yo tande, moun mouri yo leve, pòv yo tande bon nouvèl la.
23 benediksyon pou moun ki p’ap jwenn nan mwen okazyon pou yo tonbe nan peche.
Jesus presented evidence to John’s disciples that the organization is going in the right direction. Do we see evidence that this church is going in the right direction. Are your children getting baptized? Are your children growing in the Lord. Are the men improving? Are they doing more for the kingdom? Do our women serve the Lord with more confidence? Has your prayer life improved? Is God performing miracles among us? Are we being challenged to follow God’s vision, the way John the Baptist challenged Jesus? These are the questions our leaders need to be asking. These are the questions we should ask our leaders. AMEN.
Which bring us to the second question?
(2) Do the key leaders of the organization know where the organization is headed and agree on the direction?
An example of this is Jesus asking the disciples after praying alone he goes to them in Luke 9:20 –
20 Li mande yo: Bon, nou menm, ki moun nou di mwen ye? Pyè reponn li: Ou se Kris la, Moun Bondye chwazi pou voye a.
Do the leaders know where we are going? The third question is even more complex. (3) Do the organization’s structures, processes, personnel, incentives, and information systems support the current direction? Eske strukti-a, prosedi yo, moun kap travay yo, insentiv yo, ak comunikasyon ko sipote vision-an.
We won’t try to answer that one today but we will be thinking about this in our leaders’ meetings.
The next level of questions for vision is our
SLIDE #6 – SLIDE # 7 QUESTIONS FOR OUR MEMBERS.
(1) What is our Agenda here? What are you doing here? In John 6 Jesus is teaching about the vision and some of the values and principles are really hard and difficult for people, and so some start to leave and so Jesus asks the disciples –
“You don’t want to go away too?” As I preached before in Are you Serious, Jesus is not afraid of people leaving because they are not aligned with the vision. Don’t ever leave the church because of people (Amen). However, please leave the church if you are not aligned with the vision! If you are a member and you are not following the vision, what are you doing here? (Ask your neighbor?) Peter says we are here because this place has the word of life. In other words we are here because of the vision. Tell your neighbor I’m here because of the vision. (SAVE.SANCTIFY.SERVE)
The second question we ask our members and the members should ask is? (2) What are our Resources, who controls them and what have we done with them? Our resources are our time, our money, our assets, our people. Jesus was very blunt to the disciples he said he didn’t have a place for the them to stay. Look around you, what have we done with our time? What have we done with the resources God has given us? In five weeks we are going to celebrate a new day in the life of this church. How far has God brought us with this vision. Are you satisfied with what we are doing with this vision? More important than this place, what is God doing with your family, your children, your husband, your life, are you satisfied with how the vision has and is impacting your life?
Which brings me to my third question that members should ask? (3) Who am I aligned with? Jesus questioned the disciples about what are they doing here? Even after that, Judas didn’t leave. But watch this, Peter had the right answer, and he denied Christ three times. Be careful who you align with in church. Not everyone in the organization is for the organization. If someone can call you on the phone to criticize this church, to criticize its leaders, and they are not adding to the vision, how can you align with this person? It’s not wrong to distance yourself from people not aligned to the vision. Those people are not invested in your future. They only see the present. The apostle Paul sent Mark away when he was bringing doubt and fear to the team. Barnabas when to get him and encourage him. Neither of them was wrong. Paul had to let Mark go because aligning with Mark would compromise the vision. Barnabas went to get him because encouraging Mark to see the value of the vision was his job and mission. When Mark understood the value of the vision, Paul requested him. However, Paul was not going to compromise the vision for Mark. Barnabas was not going to compromise the vision for Paul. If Mark did not agree to learn Barnabas couldn’t have helped him. Barnabas realized Mark could be useful, but you can only become useful IF YOU ALIGN WITH THE VISION. How can you align yourself with the vision, if you are not on one accord with the leader? The leader’s job is to follow the vision.
True leaders don’t turn others away, but they can leave people behind if they are holding up the vision. On the other hand People leave organizations because the vision, the mission, and its leaders no longer appeals to them. People are not really leaving people when they leave an organization. People leave because they value what other people say or how other people act in the organization more than they value the vision!
A members’ job is to help other members align with the vision by following the leader, just like Barnabas did for Mark. If a member calls you, contacts you, approaches, and explains things to you contrary to the vision and you accept this – you are out of the vision. THEY TOOK YOUR JOB AWAY AND THEY ARE DOING THE OPPOSITE TO YOU.
Let’s go to questions for the outside.
When you have a vision – outsiders (etranger) will see it.
QUESTIONS FOR THE OUTSIDE
(1) What progress is happening? When Solomon took over for his father David, the progress in Israel made the Queen of Ethiopia also know as the Queen of Sheba come visit to see what was going on. People care about your vision when they detect progress. Yesterday, a member of another very large church I won’t say if its American or Haitian they brought someone to look for a place to host a wedding next year. It was the first time they saw the inside and they said “Wow. I didn’t give my money for no reason.” M’bat bay lajan mwen an pou gremesi. While you have some people in the organization fighting the vision, you have people on the outside that want to benefit from the vision. They ask the second question: (2) How can I tap into this vision? People from outside the church Christian and non-Christian are always asking me, “when are we going to have another 6-6” or when are we goingn to have another 24-hour prayer.” Outsiders want to come benefit from the vision while people on the inside are aligning against it. It was the same in Jesus’ time. The Woman with an issue of blood heard about the vision; The Syro-phonecian woman was called a dog by Jesus and she still wanted in; The Centurion Roman Soldier told Jesus to just say a word for healing. But, the People at Nazareth refused the vision, the Pharisees rejected the vision. Any successful vision, outsiders will ask how can I tap in?
The next question asked by outsiders is: What is the culture behind the vision?
(3) Why? Culture can either help or destroy vision. What is culture? Culture is a collection of habits that we have that influence our behavior. Our culture determines how we interact with each other and if we can follow through on the vision. Sociologists identify 30 universal aspects of culture that lead to positive growth in society. I am going to identify only 4 to end today. These four were used masterfully by Jesus to promote his vision!
(1) Treat Others With Respect – Jesus treated the Adulterous woman with respect, He treated the Samaritan Woman at the well with respect, Jesus healed 10 lepers, even though one was a Samaritan, He identified the woman who gave 2 pennies as a giver who deserved respect. Jesus even respected Judas at his betrayal. He let Judas kiss Him knowing in His heart what Judas was about to do. He healed the ear of Malchus after Peter used his sword to cut it off. Why? Jesus understood that his message, his vision, had no power, no influence unless he could model RESPECT! But Jesus wasn’t the only one with respect, the Centurion told Jesus he was not worthy to let Jesus step foot in his home. I’ve preached on how Mary washed Jesus’ feet. He let Judas kiss (2) Encourage others – Martha complained in Luke 10 about Mary but Jesus rebuked Martha and told her to encouraged. No one should be calling you or talking to you or discouraging on being a member here, that is contrary to the vision of this church! Look at someone and say: “You’ve got to encourage me!” (3) Praise people – Look at the people Jesus praised: “I have not found in Israel this type of faith, he said to the centurion man, Syro-phonecian woman, (4) Provides support and appreciation – At the The Death of Lazarus – we the outsiders questioning the culture of Jesus. This made even Mary and Martha his supporters doubt the vision and Jesus’ loyalty. What do we see happens when Jesus finally comes? Jesus cries. He shows that he supports the family, that he loves them. You know what people realized? They had NEVER seen Jesus cry before. They knew this couldn’t be fake, because Jesus doesn’t cry. Even more important than Lazarus resurrection for the outside people was the (1) Jesus came (2) Jesus cried. The Resurrection made them realize that the vision was for real.
So what did we learn today?
First Our leaders need to (1) Know the vision (2) Promote the vision – not the pastor, not themselves, but the visions
Second Our Members need to (1) Support the Vision and Leadership (2) Align themselves with people who promote the vision
If we do this Outsiders will be (1) Learn about, and talk about, and respect the progress of the vision (2) Be attracted to the culture of the vision. That’s when we will really start to SAVE. SANCTIFY. And SERVE.