Before we talk about our vision for the future, let me teach you a Hebrew word. The word is Chazown. It is a word that means “a dream, a revelation, or a vision.” You can find Chazown 34 times in the Old Testament. Proverbs 29:18 is the best known verse containing Chazown. Look at how this Hebrew word is translated into English in some popular versions of the Bible.
Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint. (NIV)
Where there is no vision, the people perish. (KJV)
When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. (NLT)
Without prophetic vision people run wild. (GW)
Where there is no prophecy people cast off restraint. (NRSV)
If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves. (MES)
No matter how you translate it, without Chazown, vision, revelation, divine guidance, people will be confused, scattered, unfocused and easily distracted.
So I want to set before you my vision for New Venture Christian Church not just for the next year but for the next five years. This has been burning in my soul for months now. Here it is in two words.
My vision for New Venture Christian Church for the next five years is to DOUBLE EVERYTHING.
Here are a few examples of what that would look like in its fulfillment. Five years from now:
200 to 250 in regular attendance
2 worship services with 2 worship bands
20 baptisms or more per year
10 small groups
50% of our people in ministry
5 ministries that we are involved in in the community
feeding 200 kids each week in our BPL ministry
60 kids in our children’s ministry
25 teens in our youth ministry
2 foreign mission involvements
our own building that gives us our own identity
You say, how will all this happen? We all know, vision isn’t worth the time it takes to dream it or write it or share it if there are no legs to it. So here are the legs to this vision. This is what it will take to see this vision happen. This is the way to move it from dream to reality, from words to wonderful results, from concepts to completion.
The first leg is PRAYER.
Spiritual work depends on spiritual tools. No spiritual tool is as important or powerful as prayer. God can do more in a tiny fraction of a second than I can accomplish in the next five years, in the rest of my life. He can do it bigger, better and more effectively than I can ever imagine. So the question becomes, how can we somehow influence God to be more engaged and moving in the bringing about of our vision for the future? The answer is prayer.
I would even like to step it up a notch or two when it comes to prayer, are you ready for this, and add fasting as well. Fasting, in the Bible, means not to eat or self-denial. Fasting is to choose not to partake of food or fleshly needs to give yourself more fully to prayer. A normal fast involves fasting from food but not from water. I would like to ask you to join me to pray daily and fast one day a week for our vision for the next 30 days.
Leg number two is a PLAN
Without a plan vision will go nowhere. Everyone can dream and talk wild and lofty thoughts, but how do you make it all happen? How do you turn dreams and vision into reality? With a plan.
So we are asking and commissioning every ministry team and ministry area to take the next two months to develop a plan to double their ministry in five years. What are the specific steps you will take to double the size and impact of your ministry area? We are talking about a well thought out and written out plan. So if you are the leader of any ministry area or ministry team, that is connected with New Venture, you are hereby commissioned as certified planners in the “double everything” vision for New Venture Christian Church.
Leg three is PEOPLE.
Vision can only become reality with people. Doesn’t that make sense? With boots on the ground! Of course, God can do anything he chooses to do, but that’s not how God works. God always works through people. When God wants to get something done he has always used people. And God wants to use you as a key part of carrying out his mission and vision for New Venture Christian Church.
Here are three things that are needed from all of us to make vision reality.
1. Consistent Worship. The Bible says in Hebrews 10:25 “Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do.” Consistent worship is so important and here are some reasons why.
It provides you with balanced spiritual nourishment. On the other hand, inconsistency in worship robs us of balanced spiritual nourishment. Jesus said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) When we fail to consistently worship we are robbing ourselves of what we need most for our spiritual development.
Consistent worship says that we really do love God and want to worship him. It says I am so grateful for his love and faithfulness and I want to take every opportunity I can to let him know and to declare it to him and everybody else. How can I do otherwise? God honors and blesses that.
Consistent worship reveals that we really do love Jesus and the church he died for. The Bible says, “Jesus loves the church and gave his life for it.” How does my attendance say that I love the church? Because worshiping God is the starting point when it comes to loving and building up the church and accomplishing its mission in the world. Most people think at all starts with work. Worship must precede work. If it doesn’t we are trying to make it happen in our own strength.
Consistent worship also builds momentum. If there is one thing we will need to move to the next level and then to the next and the next it is momentum. Nothing is a momentum starter and booster like a packed house every Sunday. Have you ever noticed the energy when that happens?
So to double everything it begins with everyone who considers New Venture to be your church to place worship at the top of your weekly priorities.
2. The second of the big three when it comes to people is everyone involved in service. Serving says I want to be a part of the body of Christ the way God designed it to be not the way I wanted to be. God designed the church body like the human body. Why do you have body parts? To serve as functioning parts of the body. If you are a part of the church, the body of Christ, he expects you to act like it. That means, function as a viable and contributing part of the body. Serving says I want to be in this body what God expects me and designed me to be in it
3. That brings us to the third big three people need, generous people. Here is the bottom line, it takes money to turn vision into reality. It takes generous people. Not much in today’s world comes free.
Generosity with our money says, “I believe Jesus knows what he is talking about when he said, on more than one occasion, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’” I may not understand it all, I may not know how it will all work out but if he said it then I believe it and I will make it the standard of my life. I will make it the foundation of my existence and my relationship with him and the church.
Generosity also says, “I believe the Bible is true and I will obey it when it instructs me to bring the whole tithe into God’s storehouse.”Again, I may not understand how it will all work out, but I will obey the teaching of God when it comes to tithing.
A third statement generosity makes is,” I will trust the Lord to work it all out.” Jesus said, “He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the kingdom of God your primary concern.” (Matthew 6:33) The biggest reason why we aren’t more generous is that we don’t believe God will take care of us. We don’t trust him. We would rather handle it ourselves and trust in ourselves.
So we can only turn vision into reality when all of us who consider New Venture our home church, step up to the plate financially.
So we pray and pray and pray, with fasting, develop a plan to turn vision into reality and then we, the people, must be the boots on the ground and hearts in the action to flesh it out.
And the final leg is that we must PERSIST, even when we don’t feel like it.
Make this your marching order, Galatians 6:8-9, “Don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.”
Don’t give up! Don’t give up! Don’t give up!