01 April, 2007

The Vision That Cannot See

I am so sick of the word 'vision' I could scream. When I left the corporate training field, I thought I could catch a break from hearing it every 5 minutes. But that was not to be because the corporate training world has been brought into the church. Now we hear it from church growth movement leaders every 5 minutes.

From the PastorPreneur website are some vision quotes by 'pastorpreneurs' that are quite revealing. We don't even think about these 'quotes' anymore because we are so desensitized to them. But we need to think about them in light of what scripture says.

You know, if all this vision casting was not so silly, it would be amusing. But it isn't because it is leading so many people astray. (I can remember when Peter Drucker invented the concept of the 'intrapreneur' so I was not that surprised to find a PastorPreneur. Saddened but not surprised.)

I contend that they have taken the word 'vision' and given it a meaning that is not from scripture. I know many will argue with me about that but only God knows the future and we cannot 'invent it' or 're imagine' it. All we can do is be obedient and spread the full gospel. Quite frankly, thinking we can 'vision cast' and imagine the future is occult thinking. (Ouch, I can feel the arrows already!)
To put things in perspective, I have a few questions about the quotes below from the PastorPreneur web page titled: Vision Quest - "Leadership & Vision Casting". My questions are in blue.

The art of leadership begins in the heart: Call, Character, Conviction, and Competence (Jackson)
What about the Beatitudes? Starting with number one: Blessed are the poor in spirit...?

Vision is a picture of the future that produces passion in you (Hybels)
What if my picture of the future involves race tracks and I am passionate about gambling?

Arrange your life around your leadership gift. You will stand before the nail-pierced Savior and be asked, "What did you do with the gift I gave you?" (Hybels)
Is this what Moses did? If I remember correctly, he was hiding out in Midian yet God appointed him to lead the Jews out of Egypt and even gave him the 'gifts' he would need at the time he needed them. Peter was working on the boat and not exactly the cream of the crop education wise and, well, I could go on and on...

What do you cry about? (Burden), What do you sing about? (Joy), What do you dream about? (Hope) (Maxwell) Do you cry about your sin? Do you sing about your Savior? Should we even touch the 'dream' part?

You have to be willing to lose some people... But make sure you lose the right ones. Don't lose somebody because you are poor in relationships, but lose them because you've got a big vision. A big vision fires up the committed, and fries the convicted. (Maxwell) Is John Maxwell starting to sound like Rick Warren here? Is this like saying, we hope those 'poor in spirit' leave...they cannot see our big vision. You know, I have to wonder about the vision of those who were burned at the stake for the name of our Savior...was it a vision of their Savior with arms opened wide?

Every time a church doubles in size, half of the leadership becomes obsolete (Anderson)Why? Because they are not on their knees enough? In scripture constantly? Praying for guidance and wisdom? Is that the real reason?

"Vision and values are important because they focus the energy of people on what they are really in business for... there are two parts to leadership... one is the vision casting and the other is implementation" (Ken Blanchard) Where are these 'values'? In scripture? Are they the Beatitudes? And doesn't Christ do the implementing? We are just mere vessels...right?
Are you developing yourself? Your people? Your ministry?
Are you studying the Word, loving people, disciplining, praying, worshipping? Doesn't God do the 'developing'?

Here are the 4 key leadership skills for the future (from Jim Harrington, former DM at Union Baptist Association, Houston, TX):
Personal Mastery (know gifts, calling, growing relationship with Christ) We don't master anything do we? I am too weak and ignorant, I must have Christ in me to do anything. I cannot even breathe without God!
Developing Vision (seeing what God sees) Isn't everything we need in scripture?
Communicating Vision (life and vision alignment) Wouldn't this really mean teaching the truths of scripture?
Shepherding Pursuit of Vision (alignment of programs and vision) This one is too scary to even comment on.

Moving past 200 people requires the pastor to move from chaplain to manager. Moving from 500 to 1000 requires the pastor to move from manager to leader. Moving past 1000 requires the pastor to be a visionary and multiplying leader.(Jackson) In that case, shouldn't we take Acts out of the Bible? Peter was not qualified.

Vision validates the past while celebrating a preferable future(Borden) A preferable future? You mean like laying down your life for the Name of Christ? It may come to that, you know.

All of this just makes me sad. People spend millions to hear these words when they could open the scripture for all the truth they will ever need...for the cost of a Bible.
2 Timothy 4
1I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.


CJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CJ said...

Ain't it the truth! A lot of sermons nowadays sound like motivational peptalks aimed at executives in Fortune 500 corporations.

Vision casting can be occultic; on the other hand, it can also be a perfectly harmless psychological technique aimed at getting your brain to work efficiently towards achieving a goal. I think that where occultic involvement comes in, is when we stop using psychological tools to manipulate our own mind, and begin using them to manipulate our spirit, in order to accomplish spiritual things in an extra-Biblical fashion, using tools and techniques that God did not prescribe. Vision casting is such a technique: God did not prescribe it for the Church, so using it to achieve spiritual things is adding to God's word and is dangerous.

Marcian said...

I'd have to disagree with CJ about vision casting. We are commanded to work hard, as for the Lord, and Proverbs admonishes those who do not provide for their future needs, but I don't believe it goes further than that. I dont' think a goal needs a "vision", but rather let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Achieving something doesn't require a vision for anything. Sometimes it just means finishing what you've started, and trusting in the Lord for next steps. I've learned if He is leading, He may have something completely different from what you "envisioned". Know His leading, and trust Him.

Scott said...

Well observed. The vision is and should be God's. Our church leaders today cast vision but most times it is their vision for what they think God wants.


I've FINALLY posted the last installment.