I got another chance to hear a pastor casting vision tonight. I’ve been working with Parkview Baptist Church www.pbcnn.org on some “re-visioning” for the past several weeks. Pastor Rusty Beck did a great job of articulating the challenge they are facing trying to be a church that reaches higher, reaches deeper and reaches outward. They have a long hard road ahead, but they have the right man leading them.
It was very refreshing this morning to worship in a healthy, growing church with a visionary pastor http://www.templechurch.net/. Lynn Hardaway has been a very effective tool in God’s hand to turn this church around and get it moving in a great direction. What I was struck with this morning was the clear vision that Lynn was communicating to his congregation.
Most sermons I hear are directed at individuals (you need to get right, do this, believe that). A visionary pastor, on the other hand, communicates where “God is calling us.” His message is clear, understandable and challenging. It is corporate and personal.
A visionary pastor has won the trust of his people so much so that the vision has an authentic ring to it. It’s not rhetoric or hype. This doesn’t necessarily mean that his whole congregation will immediately jump on board. The vision will need to be cast and recast, and communicated in various ways. Slowly, as small victories are won and momentum is gained, the vision will come to be owned by more and more of the congregation.
The most exciting thing about my new position with the Peninsula Baptist Association is that I can already see the beginnings of a movement. I keep finding myself in conversations with people wanting to begin something new, pastor’s who are serious about revitalization in their churches, a desire for better connectedness between pastors, more concern for the welfare of the communities around our churches… I had lunch today with the staff of one of our strongest churches. The pastor said, “We are going to be a flagship church for the association.” He went on to say, in the presence of his staff, that their church is ready to do whatever they can to help other churches. I was having lunch after church yesterday with members of the church where I had just delivered the sermon. An older gentleman wanted to know why our churches aren’t more passionately supporting a local homeless shelter. Their church has adopted a local middle school with many underprivileged students, feed the homeless, provide uniforms for students in an overseas orphanage to attend school in, and on and on. I had coffee today with a young leader who is seeking to know God’s calling on his life. I am in coaching relationships with three men wanting to plant churches – two of them have entered ministry in middle age and are ready to give up careers to follow God’s calling. One of our older churches is in the process of planting a church within their church to reach the younger people who have moved into their community. They fully expect to one day hand the keys to the building over to the new church. I am working with another older church as they seek to discover God’s vision for their future. I could go on… and this is stuff I have stumbled into after only six weeks on the job. Did I mention that God seems to be up to something?