My husband I pastor a church in Opelika, Alabama. If you are not from the area, you probably mispronounced that city. It’s pretty funny that God brought us here, because my husband was born here, but never lived in this city until he turned thirty. When we took over the church from his parents we set out and wrote down what God was telling us the vision for the church would be.
The vision statement He gave us was, “We exist to touch the world through our community.” Habakkuk 2:2-3 in the Message translation says, “And then God answered: ‘Write this. Write what you see. Write it out in big block letters so that it can be read on the run. The vision-message is a witness pointing to what’s coming. It aches for the coming – it can hardly wait! And it doesn’t lie. If it seems slow in coming, wait. It’s on its way. It will come right on time.'”
“We exist to touch the world through our community.”Connect Church Vision Statement
We were so excited for what God was going to do in our church. This was not a starting from scratch church plant. That did not mean were were not faced with challenges. Our heart was to empower the church for ministry. This is how we were going to reach our world. Empower them to see the importance of their community, so that we could reach this world.
First book we read as a church was Greater by Steven Furtick. Our desire was to see the church get excited for the greater. One of my favorite quotes from this book was, “Most believers are not in imminent danger of ruining their lives. They’re facing a danger that’s greater: wasting them.” We envisioned a church that saw the importance of reaching the lost. We may have been a bit too pushy. Not six months into this leadership shift did we get push back. We were told that we could not expect them to love “our baby” the way that we do. The vision had not been received and it stung. It took my husband and I a few years, and the church too, to overcome such a blow. Did that mean that the vision God gave us was not for our church. No…it just meant we did not lay the foundation properly.
We have to watch our hearts in this season of vision casting. Do you know that you have the power to extinguish someone else’s dreams? It is not your job to judge if that persons dream will succeed; it is not your dream. You are however, not suppose to speak against it.
Ephesians 4:9 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
God put a vision for our church, but we knew that things had to change in order for us to see that promise. We decided to put our property up for sale. We were sitting on twenty acres, with almost fifty thousand square feet of building and that meant our overhead was between twelve to fourteen thousand dollars a month. We were not a church that could sustain that much overhead and sow into our community.
We walked away from the sale with no profit. Nothing to start fresh with. Did that mean God did not give us that vision still? No…it meant we had to trust Him more. For the past one and a half years, God had been healing our hearts from the words that stung us those five years ago. He has been building upon a foundation in His Word. Our church, and I believe churches around the world, are waking up! There is a fire and a hunger in the church like we have not seen in the past two decades.
Ecclesiastes 11:4 “He who watches the wind (waiting for all conditions to be perfect) will not sow (seed), and he who looks at the clouds will not reap (a harvest).” (AMP)
That vision for Connect Church is still there. God has given us a BIG DREAM! However, in order to see that come to pass we need to sow into other’s dreams. We are sowing into the construction of a church in Uganda. Right now we are not meeting in our own building. We are renting from another church and have a one thirty service. We could get comfortable here. Our church members are growing so much spiritually that we are loving this call of being their pastors. That discouragement is now a distant memory. There is life again! We are seeing victory in their lives. God is not done with us yet…there is still that vision.
We are also giving like never before into local organizations and ministries. Deep down there is still a desire to do and reach more. You may not be leading a church but you are called to ministry.
I have a vision for loved ones lifting up their hands in worship, completely surrendered to our Father. I envision our children worshiping whole-heartedly. A fire is burning in our young people (Jeremiah 20:9)! When people walk in the doors of our church I envision the chains of bondage breaking off of them, that they fall so in love with God they cannot walk out the doors the same.
Can you know see the victory? Can you envision the promise? I can. God gives you the dreams and He is intentional of what He puts in your heart to accomplish. Trust God. Remember He is an amazing architect. He created this world that you exist in. He is the “Everlasting to Everlasting.”
“I pray with great faith for you, because I’m fully convinced that the One who began this glorious work in you will faithfully continue the process of maturing you and will put his finishing touches to it until the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 TPT