Picture with me, in your mind, a desirable vacation spot. Money is no object—so be very specific. Where is it? What do you do? When do you go? Imagine the food, the drinks, the sand, the mountains, the water—whatever it is. How do you get there? How long do you stay? I know your kids aren’t with you because that’s called a trip, not a vacation, but visualize who’s going with you.
By thinking about these things, in that kind of detail, what you’ve just done, is articulated a vision. A vision is a description of the future as you see it. Which. Why is vision an important thing for us to consider? Because:
Everybody ends up SOMEWHERE, but very few people end up somewhere on PURPOSE.
In other words, very few people take the time to really dig in to figuring out where does the decision I’m making now, lead me in the future?
Like, what happens if I go in debt to make this purchase, and then I lose my job? What happens if I don’t include my spouse on this decision and they really hate it? What happens if I don’t study for that test or procrastinate that paper or forget to have that important conversation? You’ll end up somewhere. You just won’t likely end up where you wanted to be.
Now. Back to the vacation. Imagine if we were getting a cup of coffee and you were trying to convince me to go with you, but you only had one sentence to do it. And not like a run-on sentence, as I’m accustomed to using, if you haven’t noticed yet, but you only have an 8-word sentence with no proper nouns. I’m guessing that would be very difficult, and I would have a hard time figuring out where you were going. This is why, when it comes to vision, clarity is probably the biggest factor on determining the success of said vision.
So let me be clear. New Anthem Community Church exists to connect people to God’s purpose. That’s our vision. I (Pastor Landon) am like a spiritual tour guide trying to move people from where they are now to where God wants them to be. It also means I have to equip everybody else to do the same. I’ll say it like this: New Anthem is about God, New Anthem is for people, and therefore New Anthem is going to connect people to God’s purpose.
Why? Because everybody ends up somewhere, but very few people end up somewhere on purpose. I want you to end up in God’s divinely appointed purpose for your life.
Maybe this is a better example: This summer, Laura and I, and a group of our friends went on a road-trip vacation together. We all knew our final destination and we all had a pretty good idea what would happen when we got there—it was spelled F-U-N! But here’s what we didn’t know. How would we get there? See, just because we’re all friends, and we all wanted to go, doesn’t mean we’d all take the same route. Some of us would choose to fly. Some of us would prefer to drive. Depending on who drove, many of the traffic laws would be disobeyed, and we would get there as quickly as possible. If somebody else drove they might opt for the scenic route. The hyper aggressive folks would want to push through and have everybody pee in a bottle. Others would want to rest and nap and stop at all the historical markers.
And here’s the kicker: all of these options could work. No matter what option somebody chose, we’d all get there eventually; but in the interest of clarity and group schedules we needed somebody to make sure that everyone knows that on this trip, we are following this route, and this schedule.
Back to the church. We’re going somewhere. We’re on a trip with Jesus, it’s called the Great Commission, and we know on New Anthem’s trip we’re going to do a couple things. We’re going to BRING people into a saving relationship with Jesus. We’re going to BUILD people up in the faith. We’re going to EQUIP people for ministry. And we’re going to SEND them out into the world to make a difference because we’ve connected them to God’s purpose.
Here’s what else I know: Every church ends up somewhere, but not every church ends up somewhere on purpose.