Yesterday at lunch* I joined a few other church staff members and enjoyed a bountiful harvest, known in these parts as Jade Garden. We had almost completed our siege on General Tso’s army without incident when the gentleman at the table behind us, overhearing our amusement over fortune-cookie prognostications**, hijacked our conversation. He quickly picked up on the fact that we are, at the very least, church attenders, and without any introduction asked us a question that had obviously been burning on his heart for quite some time.
“Don’t you think that churches in our city should get together, rather than just sticking to themselves and their own denominations?”
Fair enough question. But my friend Smitty countered with an even better question; a question that the rest of us were all thinking, but were too busy trying to memorize the lucky numbers off our fortunes to actually ask:
“Get together to accomplish________…….?”
(He left it hanging there for an uncomfortably long time. Then finished the question.)
“To accomplish what?”
Our new friend was stumped. He had no real answer to that, so he proceeded to ask advice on how he can convince a young mentee of his not to get a tattoo. Hardly inspiring conversation. It was clear that this guy knew that he – that his church – was missing something. He had a vague conception of “kingdom work,” but he was grasping at straws.*** Theirs was a church floundering around with no vision, no real sense of calling. It was a sad and sobering reminder that many people who claim Christ as their savior have forgotten or abandoned what it means to actually follow Him.
Flashback: My family and I made a drastic life change in order to join in the movement that God is doing through Calvary Christian Church. This church is totally committed to helping people fully become who God created them to be, and they will love, serve, and engage the community to whatever ends in order to make this happen. The vision not only determines what actions to take, but it also creates opportunities because people are always operating with these missional, vision-focused goggles on, so to speak.
Vision is critical. Crystal clear vision will bring people together and foster unity and commitment over a common goal. Crystal clear vision will change lives and create momentum.
Without clear vision, you might just find yourself eating alone at a chinese buffet someday, knowing you want something more, that there is supposed to be something more to your faith, but you have no idea how or where to find it.
And it certainly isn’t wrapped up in a fortune cookie.****
* Confession: I had just finished my first lunch of two slices of Speedway pizza when I received the chinese buffet invite. As my wife always reminds me, “If you turn people down when they ask you out to lunch, eventually they’ll stop asking you.” And as I always remind myself, “Chinese buffet is awesome.” Second lunch it is.
** What was my fortune you ask? “All your current plans will succeed.” Winning.
*** The phrase “grasping at straws” just kind of came out when I was typing. I was immediately unconvinced that this was even a real saying, but The Word Detective put my mind at ease.
**** Check out what some random fortune cookie guy on Twitter said regarding my post. Right on lokicuki, right on: