When I think about “vision” I am reminded of a statement attributed to Helen Keller: “What is worse than having no sight is being able to see but have no vision.” Most of you will have no problem understanding the need for Christian leadership to possess vision. Quite often when considering the great needs of our church, my personal prayer focus is based on the Bible’s description of the sons of Issachar. It is recorded they “were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do” (First Chronicles 12:32). It continues to be my prayer for God to grant the individuals serving in our various leadership positions to be competent decision-makers who understand the times we are living in and know what we should do in our pursuit of the future. I believe leadership should make it their pursuit to know generally what their people ought to do. This requires God-given vision and “where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18).
What is this “vision” the Bible speaks about? When studied, it’s clear that the writer of Proverbs is indicating that if we don’t have a vision, we will have no boundaries, no restrictions, and no direction in life. Therefore, if we do have this “vision” according to the Scripture, we will have boundaries, restrictions, and direction in life. I think of vision as a clear mental picture of God’s will for the future, given by God to His servants who have an accurate understanding of God and His Word, themselves, and the times in which they live. Put in other words, vision for ministry is what we believe God wants us to accomplish in order to build His Kingdom.
The words given by God to the prophet Habakkuk quickly come to my mind. The Lord told him, “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry” (2:2-3). The lessons here are clear. By some means, the vision needs to be recorded. And if it is from God, it will come to pass.
Now let’s make this knowledge useful. After all, knowledge is only valuable if it helps us in the practical affairs of daily life. I realize that I am an extremely blessed man because God allows me to serve the constituency of the Congregational Holiness Church as your Mission USA Administrator. In our 2005 General Conference, Mission USA came into official existence as the administrative arm of our General Headquarters with oversight for our efforts towards Christian education, home missions, evangelism, and publications. I am only the second administrator to occupy this office and I stand upon the shoulders of those who have gone before me in the establishment and implementation of Mission USA.
With such a broad portfolio, perhaps you have wondered just what our Mission USA vision looks like. To begin with, please note how Christian education, home missions, and evangelism are truly connected. Jesus united them when He said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Our Great Commission contains the “Go ye” of missions as well as the “teaching” aspect of education. Both are necessary for effective evangelism and our publications, then serve to undergird this blessed union. Therefore, what “God hath joined together, let no man divide asunder.”
Secondly, Mission USA is light years from being a one man show. The unity we experience within our denomination leads us to the teamwork that glorifies our Lord. As an administrative office, Mission USA works cooperatively with district presbyteries and local churches in order to see the vision come to pass. What is this great vision? Mission USA exists to do everything within our means to strengthen existing local churches and launch new churches. Additional details, which set the boundaries for this vision, are recorded plainly. Also written are the responsibilities of our districts, local churches, and ministers.
The future of the Congregational Holiness Church is bright as God’s face continues to shine upon us. Let me share some of my heart for Mission USA. Efforts to see our vision come to pass begin with a desire to guide us in large, specific, and strategic praying. Everything inclusive of following Christ necessarily begins with prayer and must be bathed in that relationship. We will only be deemed successful if it is a prayerful pursuit. We must also continue pushing for a revival of scriptural holiness. Any revival that doesn’t lead God’s people to walk in His holiness is not a God sent revival. With continued focused upon youth, I’ll continue to encourage every district Christian Education Director and their staff, as well as every local church youth worker, to pour into younger generations. We must pursue them as the church of today and know that we are training the leaders of tomorrow. We will continue to provide high quality, yet inexpensive resources for those who will push toward personal growth and development. Brochures, Gospel tracts, and teaching articles customized for the local church are freely available. The Gospel Messenger will continue to be published with ever increasing quality. With God’s help, our awesome Continuing Education Seminars will continue. Led by the Spirit and with help from my friends, we will continue our School of Youth Leadership. District Home Mission Coordinators are encouraged to pursue growth for their regions. Sunday School will always be a personal thrust because of the difference it can make in an individual’s life. And I plan to continue being a friend to pastors, ministry leaders, and Sunday School teachers. I’ll be their prayer partner, confidant, and friend as we follow Christ together. I’ll stop before you get wearied with my wordiness, but please know that my heart’s goal is to see healthy clergy and healthy congregations working together in pursuit of Great Commission fulfillment.
I encourage you to do what you can in helping Mission USA fulfill the vision of strengthening the local church and launching new congregations. Be the church member you wish everyone else to be. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. Pray for specific cities and towns in your state. Ask God to give us that place for His glory. Next, ask the Lord to send forth men and women of God who are burdened with the call of God. Ask what your church does to help support this Great Commission commitment. We are recruiting local churches and individual believers who will commit to helping us to fulfill the vision. We can accomplish so much more together than we ever could apart.