Sermon 25 Sept 1 — Acts 16:6-10; Matt 15:8,9,15-20. The U-Turn Church series

If a church wants to make a healthy turnaround for God’s glory, we have seen how it needs to have Holy Zeal, Urgency, and readiness to quench holy thirst.

“Zeal and urgency are a gift only when we are heading in the right direction!” Your Vision & Mission explain your church’s direction. Or purpose. Where it is aiming to go.

I am not at all a fan of Vision and Mission statements such as they have been used in the church in North America…, which created a challenge…

Let’s look at how Vision and Mission are shown at work in scripture. Acts 16 is a simple, short example. In Paul’s case, he has a vision of a man from a particular area begging him to come there and help.

A vision is a dream/idea about a future possibility — what we feel led or called to do, to achieve.

Vision statement example: We envision a world where everyone has free access to safe drinking water.

Paul and his companions turn that vision he has into a mission.

Mission is a purposeful plan of action that gets us moving in reality. “How?”

After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.” Acts 16

Mission (How) Example: We go to areas where the water is not safe or free and install donated wells and pumps.

The experience of Paul and his companions is a simple, straight-forward example from scripture. Vision, Mission.

The one from Acts 10 is a more complex one.

Cornelius, the centurion, a man who was in relationship with God, is the first in that account who has a vision. Startled Cornelius is told to send for Peter, who is at a specific house. Cornelius sends trusted people on that mission. Peter, as these people are travelling toward him – unknown to him but known to us — has a vision about a future possibility. The vision really stretched Peter. It stretched him in his beliefs about religious practices. It went against some important values he had been raised with! As Peter is thinking about this vision of a future possibility that was quite a break from the past, there are people at the door…

In obedience to the uncomfortable stretching vision he has been given, Peter makes it his mission to go with them. His thought process might have been “God is showing me something new. I am going to obediently follow God’s lead and explore it.” And people who had at one time been excluded from the church are brought in.

That’s how it works. Vision comes, Mission is set, and the Holy Spirit rewards the risks taken and expands the number of citizens in the kingdom of God.

Since I have been here, have you experienced things that might be God trying to help us with vision and mission? … … … (two people coming to the building and asking to participate somehow…)

Here’s the big big big danger with the whole Vision/Mission approach: We lie to ourselves, and we don’t know how to hear God.

I told two stories: in both a pastor was called to do outreach to the community, but the church people’s actions did not match their stated vision and mission.

So, part of what we are doing in our transition process is asking:

Do we have holy zeal?

Is there Heart change happening?

Are we feeling healthy urgency about what the church really exists to do>

Do we recognize spiritual thirst around us, and that we have access to becoming wellsprings of spiritual nurture through Jesus?

And do we have a clear sense of why were are here, what we are here as a church to do, not for ourselves but for God? Can all of us put that into words, and then in action plans?

IF we can, do our actions match the vision we speak with our lips?

If our answer to any of those questions leans to “No” then there is no doubt we have some growing to do.

May we open our selves to that growing, and may God bless us as we risk it.


One thought on “Sermon 25 Sept 1 — Acts 16:6-10; Matt 15:8,9,15-20. The U-Turn Church series

  1. I very much appreciated your sermon on Sunday. It certainly has me thinking and wondering. I did indeed feel the Holy Spirit at work, as there was a bit of a feeling of unrest amongst those I was chatting with. We are not sure what to really do with the insights we are gaining. I started looking at vision and mission statements of some other churches and they are really all over the map! We need to make a concerted effort to think as one body (as I find we are not all pulling in the same direction at the moment), to recognize that we are so very lucky to have the abundance of resources we have and to perhaps also recognize that we are rather complacent in our approach to helping others outside the Church. I also have come to realize that my family’s challenges with communicating with our puppy, is an excellent analogy for how we as a Church are challenged with communicating with others outside of our Church! The puppy is rather insistent in getting our family’s attention. Are we hearing the messages of the outside world and its efforts to get our attention?


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