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1st-Century Secrets for Church Growth - Vision

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Text: Proverbs 29:18 – “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (KJV)

                                      “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint” (NIV)

Thesis: To stress that vision is necessary in order to go forward as a church.


(1)     “Unless God’s people have a clear understanding of where they are headed, the probability of a successful journey is severely limited” (Barna, The Power of Vision 11).

(2)     To some degree, we are what we think (Prov. 23:7).

(3)     Let us note some aspects of vision:


I.                    What is vision?

A.     Basic definition –

1.      One definition is “foresight with insight based on hindsight.”

2.      My favorite definition is “a clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God to His chosen servants and is based upon an accurate understanding of God, self and circumstances” (Barna 28).

B.     Vision is closely related to faith.

1.      As God’s people, we must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).

2.      Example – Missionary going to country without money

C.     Jesus was a vision caster.  Hear His words:

1.      “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest” (John 4:35) [NASV].

2.      “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed […] nothing would be impossible” (Matt. 17:20) [NLT].

3.      “Go into all the world and make disciples” (Matt. 28:19).

D.     Walt Kallestad suggests some practical principles for vision (The Everyday,

Anytime Guide to Christian Leadership 30):

1.      Expand your horizons by stretching your imagination

2.      Nurture new ideas

3.      Vote for positive changes, with a welcoming


4.      Imagine the impossible

5.      Stay ahead of tomorrow

6.      Invent the future

7.      Operate expectantly

8.      Notice unlimited opportunity

II.                 Why do some churches not have vision?

A.     George Barna suggests some “vision killers.”

1.      Tradition

Matt 15:3 – And He answered and said to them, "Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?

2.      Fear

Rev. 21:8 – will be in the lake of fire

3.      Complacency

Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by” (Lam. 1:12)

4.      Fatigue/Laziness (We tried once)

5.      Short-term thinking

B.     Vision is:

1.      Change-oriented

2.      Challenging

3.      Long-term


(1)    The early church walked by faith and turned the world upside down.

(2)    Will we also walk by faith?

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