Vision Casting

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154 Responses

  1. dusty says:

    good morning Big Brother, everyone. Sure hope it is warmer where you are than here
    -15′

    hoping to be around again. I may not have much to say in the topic at hand, but will be offering our ((((hugs)))) and 🙂

  2. Steve Wright says:

    Very good. Excellent Dietrich Bonhoeffer;reference..

  3. Michael says:

    Dusty,

    You’re welcome on any thread… 🙂

  4. not so steady walk Bob says:

    Good post, but let me comment on this tradition:

    “…gather to hear the Word of God, receive the sacraments, make disciples, and live our lives in such a way that God is glorified in our families and vocations.”

    I believe the “church” has replaced this “vision” with other agendas:

    “He has told you, O man, what is good;
    And what does the LORD require of you
    But to do justice, to love kindness,
    And to walk humbly with your God?”

    As you well know it is from the prophet Micah and deals with the very questions you arise in this thread. How are people to worship and what is important to God. The “vision casters” of the day were no different than today, their focus was a bit blurred.

    They are described by Micah in this way:

    “Woe to those who scheme iniquity,
    Who work out evil on their beds!
    When morning comes, they do it,
    For it is in the power of their hands.
    They covet fields and then seize them,
    And houses, and take them away.
    They rob a man and his house,
    A man and his inheritance.”

    Now hear this, heads of the house of Jacob
    And rulers of the house of Israel,
    Who abhor justice
    And twist everything that is straight,
    Who build Zion with bloodshed
    And Jerusalem with violent injustice.
    Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe,
    Her priests instruct for a price
    And her prophets divine for money.
    Yet they lean on the LORD saying,
    “Is not the LORD in our midst?
    Calamity will not come upon us.”

    What should be our cry?

    Many nations will come and say,
    “Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD
    And to the house of the God of Jacob,
    That He may teach us about His ways
    And that we may walk in His paths.”

    Learn and walk in HIs paths, can it be any simpler?

    Micah’s a great “vision caster!”

  5. Michael says:

    Steve,

    Finding that Bonhoeffer quote was like finding money in your pocket you didn’t know was there…

  6. Michael says:

    Bob,

    Very well done…amen.

  7. filbertz says:

    might I suggest that even greater than “hear the Word and do it” is know the Word (Jesus) and follow Him. A christocentric purpose trumps any man-made ‘vision’ thrown up against some wall with hope it sticks.

  8. Michael says:

    fil,

    I stand corrected.
    Yours would be the New Covenant application we should embrace.
    Now, I would add that we come to know Him through the word and sacraments, but your point still stands.

  9. dusty says:

    Thank you so much Michael. I don’t have facebook any longer so not sure how to contact you off line. Short version-failed suicide attempt,,,,he quit so I stayed, I spent a month institutionalized-mental ,emotional, being heavily medicated and seeing dr. once a week. can’t work, cant be left alone for more than a few hours – just got approved for disability.

  10. 1.) “Vision casting” should never come from the pastor from the pulpit.
    2.) “Vision casting” should be called goal setting
    3.) Goal setting should be done in a committee of church members.
    4.) Goals / visions should be presented to the church where the congregation would confirm if it is of God.

  11. Michael says:

    Dusty,

    You can always email me @ phoenixpreacher@gmail.com .
    You are always in our hearts and prayers…and you have many friends still here.

  12. Michael says:

    MLD,

    What kind of “goals” should the church be setting?

  13. Nonnie says:

    A few months ago someone brought up this whole vision casting and put a link to a CC guy somewhere that was talking all about his vision casting for 2013. I can’t remember if it was a video or an article, but I do remember that it was so corny, it was somewhere in-between reading a parody article from the Onion and a Tony Robins seminar.

  14. Nonnie says:

    Dusty, you are dearly loved. Michael has my email and you are welcomed to it.

  15. “What kind of “goals” should the church be setting?”

    Goal setting is no more than quantifying & directing what that church is called to do. So, it could be any and all of the stuff listed above but written down.

  16. dusty says:

    oh nonnie (((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))

  17. ( |o )====::: says:

    “God hates visionary dreaming”

    How does this work when we as individuals get an idea, get it done and by doing so solve a problem, create a much needed product or solution, revolutionize an industry, or make it easier and more effective for people to live their lives?

    It takes visionary dreaming and hard work to bring even the most mediocre song, book, photo, painting, play, film, piece of clothing, building, car, airplane to the world,

    I’m confused, and excited for perspective

  18. Michael says:

    Gman,

    There is a great difference between how we do things in the church and how we do things in commerce.
    God has already cast His vision for the church…but He is continually inspiring us to do things vocationally through the gifts of imagination and perseverance.

  19. Rob Murphy says:

    “Retro” is only cool when it’s not applied to spiritual things. Been looking at Jer. 6.16 the last couple weeks, because “NEW Year”
    This is what the Lord says:
    “Stop at the crossroads and look around.
    Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
    Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
    But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’

  20. dusty says:

    I have had visions in the past that have come to pass….

    I have visions, now, of the past.

  21. Andrew says:

    Amen Michael! I got to read some of Dietrich Bonhoeffer for myself.

    Vision casting taken to is logical conclusion will lead to nothing short of the “The Fuehrer Principle”.

  22. Jim says:

    Amen to the post and to #18.

  23. Michael says:

    Rob,

    That is fact…

  24. Michael says:

    Andrew,

    I suspected that I’d finally written something that you would “amen”… 🙂

  25. Josh Hamrick says:

    “How does this work when we as individuals get an idea, get it done and by doing so solve a problem, create a much needed product or solution, revolutionize an industry, or make it easier and more effective for people to live their lives?”

    This is actually true in church life as well. Dreamers are absolutely needed. The problem comes in when a good idea is rebranded as a vision from God. It is healthy to question a good idea, but no one is allowed to question God. MLD makes good sens above when he justs changes the terminology.

  26. Papias says:

    I posted this on the other threead, but it belongs on this one:

    Ah….”Vision Casting” and “Having a vision” is another one of those loaded statements that sound uber spiritual, but I have at least one experience when someone tried to use it on me for their own reasons.

    When I was in CCCM College group, I had a small home fellowship that met in my home. We had a handful of people on a good night. Except for one night that we had two guys from the COllege group show up that I didn’t know that well, and seem to be only there to see what was going on. More on them later.

    The guy who was “in charge” of of all the home fellowships in the college group(he had a HF, as well as maybe one or two others of us), wanted to meet with me, obstensibly to encourage me and find out how the HF was going.

    He asked me what the “Vision” was for the group. I told him that we were just getting together, I would share a Word from Scripture, we would pray for one another, and then we would hang out and have snacks.

    He told me “You need a vision from the Lord. That’s not a vision. And without a vision the people perish.” He then proceeded to tell me his plan – he had a guy in his HF that he wanted to come and take over my HF and lead it. (I asked him how he knew what was going on in my HF – he told me that he had sent a “couple of guys there to check it out”).

    I told him in no uncertain terms that his plan that wasn’t gonna happen. He proceeded to tell me that THIS was of the Lord and that I was in disobediance to Him. He threatened to go tho the pastor and I told him that would be OK with me – so long as I was there as well.

    I haven’t seen that guy since then.”

    (Actually, telling this story made me remember his name and look him up online. Now he is a gay advocate for GLBT, promoting self esteem in that community. Kinda sad.)

  27. Xenia says:

    How do we hear God today?…through His Word.<<<

    What do you mean by "Word?" Logos? Graphe? Rhema?

    Are you saying that we only hear from God today through the Bible?

    I don't believe that for a minute.

  28. Andrew says:

    Michael, I know I am contrary by nature but you have just hit the ball out of the park. Great job! I’ll give you another Amen! 🙂

  29. I learned a long time ago that :: everyone :: has ideas & dreams and visions, and when they are offered as just that, “my idea, my dream, my vision” then there’s a healthy honing and innovation that comes from dialog and discussion.

    Whenever anyone tells me that God gave them a vision, idea, candidly, I just run the other way.

    Whenever a musician says, “God gave me this song” I have never been disappointed in how bad it is 😉

  30. Jean says:

    A small proposed modification: “faithfully gather to worship God, hear His Word ….”

  31. Andy says:

    Interesting article, but I’m not sure how this meshes with your disdain and attack upon the internet discernment ministries. I can say that some of them (maybe not all, but some) are legitimately exposing the false and ridiculous imaginations of man that are being presented as if those imaginations were doctrines and instructions from God. And yet you routinely bash them on the whole.

    You said: “not the fevered imagination of an ego bound leader who would be the untouchable potentate of their church kingdom”

    That description sounds exactly like Rick Warren. He who teaches in the purpose driven church (not life, but church), that you need to run out the dissenters, that they need to either leave or die, so that your program can move forward. Rick Warren who can stand in front of a gathering of muslims and never give the Gospel. Rick Warren who can sit on Oprah’s show and be asked by a woman in Norway via Skype, how can I know God, and Warren’s answer was, “find your purpose”.

    That kind of thing.

    Yet if I expose those things he did as wrong, then I’m an “evil and hateful internet discernment ministry”.

    But now I know how I can avoid the flak. I’ll call his statements unbiblical “vision casting”, because that is actually what his statements are.

  32. Jim says:

    Jean,

    I thought the same thing, along with encourage one another, but I don’t think Michael was making an exhaustive list.

  33. erunner says:

    Hi Dusty!! Good to see you here once more. God bless you!

  34. Kevin H says:

    Honest questions here for the anti-vision casters. I agree that vision casting can be, has been, and continues to be abused within the church. I agree that many times these “visions” are man contrived and have very little to nothing to do with what God really wants. But here’s the but: But what if sometimes God is truly supplying the “vision” (for lack of a better word) for a pastor or leader on something particular He wants them to do? Can we positively say this never happens? For example, is it ever possible that God could prompt a pastor or other leader to start up a program through the church to reach out to a certain demographic of the church or the community? For another example, is it ever possible God could prompt a pastor to preach on a certain topic or book of the Bible through which God is wanting to minister to the church?

    Or how about this angle. Some people are good at fulfilling the everyday organizational details to successfully complete tasks. Others are better at seeing the bigger picture of what is needed to make a successful organization. To compare this to a church setting. Some are more gifted at teaching the first and second grade Sunday School class or at administratively balancing the church finance books. While others are more gifted at leading the direction of the curriculum of what should be taught in the Sunday School classes or in leading the direction of the bigger financial decisions as to how the monies of the church should be used. (And no I’m not saying it should be just one person always making these “bigger” decisions.) But of those who may be more gifted in the bigger picture items and making and leading the bigger decisions, is it ever possible that God may prompt them in certain directions when making these decisions?

    And in all of these examples, what if the pastor or other leaders see these things as some sort of “visionary” leadership they are receiving from God and are trying to lead the church accordingly? What if they actually use the word “vision” in describing any of these things? Are they to be condemned as vision casters?

    Again, honest inquiries. Curious at to others’ thoughts.

  35. Jean says:

    Jim, I agree with you, but I do see the potential for relative strangers, sharing only Christ in common (that we know of), being able to collaborate over the internet on something like a statement.

  36. Andrew says:

    Andy,

    I think Rick Warren deserves a lot of his criticisms for exactly what you said but I am not aware of him suing or publicly criticizing anyone for speaking out against his false teachings. I never attended Saddleback so not sure what would happen if the elders caught word if a dissenter were there. My guess is they would allow you to attend a service as long as your weren’t disruptive but I could be terribly wrong. It appears Rick Warren seems to be tolerant of the criticism unlike many other leaders in the evangelical world. Pastors like Mark Driscoll and James McDonald come to mind.

  37. Andy says:

    “But what if sometimes God is truly supplying the “vision” (for lack of a better word) for a pastor or leader on something particular He wants them to do? Can we positively say this never happens?”

    It does happen all the time. And it will never contradict the Bible. If it contradicts the Bible, then it’s not from God, no matter how rosy it sounds. That’s the issue of final authority. The Bible is that final authority.

  38. Andy says:

    Andrew,

    If you’ve seen some of the sensitive and defensive tweets that Rick Warren has put out there over the last couple of years, you’d know that he doesn’t any receive criticism at all, if those tweets are any indication.

    But really my main point was the inconsistency of exposing the vision casters themselves, when the internet discernment ministries have routinely been getting attacked by some, for doing the same exposure of that kind of thing the whole time.

  39. Xenia says:

    Acts 2:17

    And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

  40. Andrew says:

    Kevin,

    You have some great thoughts:
    “For example, is it ever possible that God could prompt a pastor or other leader to start up a program through the church to reach out to a certain demographic of the church or the community?”

    The problem I have with this is at what expense. Are you trying to reach a certain demographic because you want to discriminate against another demographic? This is the danger. No one should be excluded from church based on demographics.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with vision casting. It is used in the corporate world all the time and many Christians are working in those spheres of influence on a daily basis. However, vision casting does not belong in the church and particularly does not belong to the duties of a pastor especially a CEO acting pastor. A pastor is to shepherd the flock and not set the agenda for the church which has already been set by Jesus. If a pastor was supposed to vision cast for the congregation I believe there would be some examples of this in the Bible of which there are none.

  41. Xenia says:

    Would this be an example of vision casting? (This phrase is unfamiliar to me.)

    A pastor, while praying, receives a very strong impression from the Lord that his church should set up a soup kitchen? Or a home for battered women? Or a bookstore? Where do these ideas come from if not from the Lord? (Assuming they are “good” ideas.)

  42. Xenia, #41
    The problem I have is if the pastor goes out and works unilaterally without any confirmation from the church?

  43. Andrew says:

    Xenia,

    This is not vision casting unless the pastors puts pressure on the congregation to go along with his strong impression with threats to dissenters who don’t back him up.

  44. Xenia says:

    MLD, I don’t know, maybe.

    I know of some “dead” churches where I could see the Lord giving the pastor a prescription for waking them up and these ideas might be received grudgingly at first.

    I don’t know…. I just can’t swallow the idea that a pastor getting a “vision” (whatever form that might take) from God concerning the future of a parish is always bad and “from the pit of hell.”

    Again, I am not familiar with the phrase and you all may know of some terrible things that have happened.

  45. Xenia says:

    Andrew, so you are saying there is an element of coercion. I see.

  46. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    I think MLD’s point about goals vs. vision applies to some of your questioning.
    The other point I would make is that the church is a community of believers and I frankly don’t buy that God only would speak his goals for that community to one man and no one else.
    I think that is fertile ground for abuse and lifts the pastor to a place that he doesn’t truly occupy.

  47. Andrew says:

    Xenia,
    Coercion is an understatement. For instance if you listen to Mark Driscoll and his church Mars Hill. “He says there is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus. You either get on the bus or get run over by the bus. They are your options” It kind of makes that passage of scripture about submitting to one another completely irrelevant.

  48. Michael says:

    Andy,

    I’m all for thoughtful, constructive criticism of leaders and movements.
    I do that here a lot.
    What I am unwilling to do is combine doctrinal differences with eschatological musings and create anti-Christs that don’t exist.
    I have many differences with Rick Warren…but I also affirm him as a brother.

  49. Xenia – as I said earlier “vision casting” is a misnomer.

    I guess the Lord can give a pastor a vision – but I guess he can give me a vision also. if i get one is the church required for fulfill the vision I received?

    My problem with vision casting from the pulpit is that it automatically places me in a position of opposing God. If i tell the pastor “Baloney” on your vision, I am saying the same to God.

  50. Jean says:

    “I think that is fertile ground for abuse and lifts the pastor to a place that he doesn’t truly occupy.”

    God’s Word created the positions of pastors, overseers. etc. Why wouldn’t he communicate goals for a church through leadership?

  51. Michael says:

    I’m simply not into “pastor centric” churches as a biblical model.
    Every idea we’ve had to do something in the community in our church has come from someone other than me…

  52. Xenia says:

    Andrew, I see. Well, that kind of behavior is outside of anything I have personally seen so if *that* is what you are talking about, I understand your concern. That has more to do with bad eccesiology than anything, I think.

  53. Kevin H says:

    So the pastor receives what he believes is a stromg prompting from the Lord for the church to start a soup kitchen. He brings up this idea with the other other church leadership and after deliberation, they agree that this is what the Lord would have for the church. Maybe the idea even goes to a congregational vote and is approved. So the idea, the “vision”, so to speak, came from/through the pastor to the church. Is this a bad thing?

  54. Michael says:

    Jean,

    If I position myself as the only one with a hotline to God I’m a liar.
    God also places elders and deacons in the church and gifted each believer with the Holy Spirit.
    If a goal is from God then the church as a whole will affirm it and can participate in it.
    I’ve had some visions…then I got some rest.

  55. Xenia says:

    Could there be a spectrum? From the kind of behavior Andrew described at one extreme to a humble pastor at the other extreme who actually does hear from God (there are people who do, you know) and acts on what he hears, even if it’s not popular? Because medicine from God is not always popular.

  56. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    I’m not sure I would call that a vision…and why couldn’t it come from someone in the assembly?
    As I said, the huge issue is making this pastor centric, because if you oppose the ‘vision” you are opposing God…and touch not the Lords anointed.
    The last time I checked the Bible said my job was to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry…not equip them to follow me if I have an idea.

  57. KevinH,
    That is not the way it usually happens. The preferred manner by the vision receiver is to pop it on everyone from the pulpit – as in ‘this is the first time anyone has heard this.’

    If I received a vision, I would go to some people and ask for confirmation.

  58. Andrew says:

    “God’s Word created the positions of pastors, overseers. etc. Why wouldn’t he communicate goals for a church through leadership?”

    Goals? The goals we need to be concerned about are already given in the Bible. Jesus already gave us the great commission. At least in America there seems to have been a gradual shift in the duties of a pastor (as a shepherd) to pastor (as a CEO).

  59. Xenia says:

    if my pastor received a vision he would run it by his bishop.

    Bishops. Very helpful.

  60. Scott Barber says:

    I would tend to think that the pastor or priest who is truly receiving visions from God is the one struggling with anxiety and insecurity, throwing him at the feet of Christ in all humility, and calling his flock to similar reliance. I worry that placing the sermon (and therefore the pastor) at the centre of Christian worship has made abuses such as “vision casting” more prevalent and dangerous. If the pastor isn’t leading us to the Lord’s table, then he is only leading us to himself. I don’t believe that this is a healthy environment for even the most well meaning, and godly man; and it is certainly a breeding ground for abuse and abusive people.

  61. Kevin H says:

    In my first post I had spoken to some people being more gifted at the organizational detail stuff. The behind the scenes stuff that nobody wants to do but somebody has to. The manual labor. Others are more gifted at bigger picture stuff. At setting up programs and leading people. At being able to picture the possibilities of a successful event and the elements needed for it to be successful.

    Those in the second category are more apt to be the up front leaders of an organization, whether it is a secular corporation or a church. Isn’t it possible that if God has gifted people in this way through his purposes, then He would be more apt to work through people in the ways He has gifted them and given them talents?

    This is not to say that all ideas, or promptings, or “visions” for the church would come from God only through this second set of people. But isn’t it possible that it would be more common?

  62. Kevin H says:

    Michael & MLD,

    In my first post I agreed that many have abused “vision-casting” in the church. Egocentric pastors probably far more than any others. But can’t there also be a responsible way that a pastor or other leader can receive and look for confirmation of a “vision” and then work towards leading the implementation thereof?

  63. “I’ve always called You Jesus; You’ve always called me Sonny.”
    “Get out of the way moon; get out of the way stars; I’m on my way to heaven!”
    “I’d rather die today and go to heaven than live to be a hundred and go to hell.”
    “I may be on the Devil’s hit list, but I’m on Jesus’s mailing list.”

    Robert Duvall as Euliss “Sonny” Dewey in “The Apostle”

  64. Catherine says:

    Hugs to you Dusty, with prayers…

  65. Kevin H says:

    I guess part of the difficulty is in sometimes defining what is meant by a “vision”.

  66. Andrew says:

    It is true, God has given the church many different people with all types of gifts. When it comes to the office of pastor, I want to see if they can properly exegete the scriptures without twisting them like a pretzel. How else can we discern. Any pastor who vision casts from the pulpits does not know his scriptures well because he needs to contend with Jeremiah 23:16. At a minimum a pastor should at least qualify his vision that this is his opinion and not direct revelation like Moses got on the mountain with the tablets.

  67. “I wanted to show the joy and vitality I had seen with my own eyes and felt in my heart and in my life, the sheer, extraordinary excitement of faith. I especially wanted to capture the rich flavor, the infectious cadences and rhythm of good, down-home, no-holds-barred preaching.”
    Robert Duvall on writing “The Apostle”

    http://www.guideposts.org/stories-faith/inspirational-story-how-robert-duvall-discovered-his-faith-while-making-apostle?page=full

  68. Steve Wright says:

    You know what else sometimes happens. The person in the congregation gets the vision and then asks (expects) the pastor and leadership to devote all the time, energy, money, volunteers and other resources necessary to make it come to pass.

  69. Kevin H says:

    Let me give an example of a church I am familiar with. They are a church with congregational rule. The lead pastor is directly responsible to the board of elders. This is not the type of church where the pastor has anywhere close to carte blanche on everything that happens within the church. He does not even do the majority of the preaching. Here is part of the bio for that lead pastor:

    “Pastor ABC began serving as Lead Pastor of XYZ Church in August 2008, where his visionary leadership is helping equip the church to effectively carry out the Great Commission. His desire is to build a church that is passionate about seeing lives changed as people come to know Jesus Christ and grow in their relationship with him. His philosophy of ministry is based on the foundational principles that biblical teaching is critical to the spiritual life and health of the church, and that ministry without prayer will have little eternal significance. His vision for XYZ Church includes building strong community within the church family that promotes growth in Christ. He also desires to help mobilize the church to engage both its community and the world with the gospel of Christ.”

    So just on a very broad overview picture without knowing the details of how this all plays out, is this the type of pastor we would condemn for being a vision-caster? Or is it possible this pastor could be responsibly fulfilling his role of providing visionary leadership for the church, while knowing there are plenty of checks and balances in place and that there are other plenty of other people who also have input on providing leadership and making decisions?

  70. Michael says:

    KevinH,

    No, I would call him a bs artist.
    Those are all fundamental biblical principles of pastoring that we are all called to dressed up in “visionary” language.

  71. Xenia says:

    My main point is that this phrase:

    “God hates visionary dreaming”

    is at odds with this verse:

    “…and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Act 2:17)

  72. Michael says:

    Steve,

    That does happen occasionally, but those people don’t have pulpit privileges to make it seem that the idea came straight from the throne.

  73. “Some of my Pentecostal friends tell me my urgings were the Holy Spirit’s doing. I’m inclined to agree with them. In an amazingly swift seven-week period we filmed The Apostle, all on location in Louisiana. The things I worried about never came to pass. Generators didn’t break down, the weather was good, people showed up on time, no one got sick.

    I’m proud of the film. Many of the parts are played by real people and real preachers, not professional actors, because true faith is something that’s hard to duplicate. I think some viewers might be shocked—pleasantly so, I hope—to hear Jesus’ name mentioned so often, or startled by the unironic tone of the church scenes and worship services. They might be surprised to see blacks and whites worshiping together as equals even in the deepest rural South.

    Mostly, I hope they will be moved—moved the way I was when I happened upon that small church in Hughes, Arkansas., and with no warning something awakened within me that had always been there, dormant and untouched until that day. It was the greatest discovery I ever made.”
    Robert Duvall

    I posted this stuff about The Apostle because after watching the film and comparing my experiences in charismatic & pentecostal church gatherings it was the power of persuasion that someone was speaking “The Word of The Lord” and people are desperate for a live and vital touch in their lives today.

    Somehow we need to find a way to work through this.

  74. Andrew says:

    “His desire is to build a church that is passionate about seeing lives changed as people come to know Jesus Christ and grow in their relationship with him”,

    I don’t know this guy but I would ask him about his desire to build a church? That is a red flag for me. Jesus is the one that builds His church and no pastor should take this upon themselves to do. After all its Jesus’ church and not some family business of a pastor.

  75. Kevin H says:

    I’ve got to run now and I think I’ve already filled up my monthly quota of comments. 🙂

    But I guess the point of my questions is to think about are we possibly throwing the baby out with the bath water when we condemn those who are leading with “vision”? Part of it may be defining what that really means. But part of it makes me wonder if God does truly use some more than others to lead in a visionary way. Just because some have really muddied the visionary water with their own narcissitic and ego-driven visions, does that mean that God never works through visionary manners in some form?

  76. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Your assumption is that the phrase in Acts is somehow connected to leading a local assembly and I don’t see that.

  77. Steve Wright says:

    Those are all fundamental biblical principles of pastoring that we are all called to
    ———————————————–
    That’s what I read too, KevinH. I think most every church pastor would say basically the same thing – though without the extra verbage.

  78. Steve Wright says:

    That does happen occasionally, but those people don’t have pulpit privileges to make it seem that the idea came straight from the throne.
    ———————————————————–
    Agreed. They just get mad and split.

  79. Michael says:

    G,
    We are working through this!
    Look at the diversity of thought and wrestling going on…that’s a good thing. 🙂

  80. Nonnie says:

    I think it is the term “vision casting” and the concept behind it that rubs me wrong.

    It is a term that guys like Tony Robins and all the positive affirmation/salesmen, big business type of folks use to control, manipulate and make money off of others.

    I’m guessing that if you googled 10 sermons on vision casting, they wouldn’t sound very different from the business gurus’ motivational talks, other than Jesus being thrown in the mix every now and then.

    I agree with Xenia that God moves people, inspires people, and let us not limit what the Lord will do and can do as He inspires and moves men and women with hearts to serve others and glorify Him.

    But does the church really have to use made up terms and techniques from people whose god is $$$?

  81. Andrew says:

    Agreed. They just get mad and split
    ______________________________________________

    Actually if the congregants vision is not in line with the pastors vision, its more like the pastor gets mad and throws them under the bus like in Mark Driscolls church or catapults them to the neighboring city as in James McDonald’s church. That’s more the reality.

  82. Xenia says:

    Sure, the Joel prophecy can apply to all believers, which contradicts an earlier statement made in this thread:

    “How do we hear God today?…through His Word.”

    Combine this with….

    Heb. 3:17 “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves : for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief : for that is unprofitable for you.”

    … and I think a case can be made for a pastor receiving dreams and visions (I am assuming *genuine* dreams and visions) for the benefit of the congregation.

    No throwing people under the bus, however.

  83. Michael,
    Agreed! it’s pretty cool ’round here.

    Yep, the yearning for God to inspire us and others is something each of us explores and discovers.

    I was particularly moved by Duvall’s script where he and the congregants leave boxes of groceries on folks’ porches, then ring the doorbell or knock on the door and run to hide to laugh and enjoy the blessings that follow.

    Simple acts of faith.

    A pentecostal preacher once exhorted us hippie kids to make cupcakes and give them to people if you have to have break past your fears and engage into some kind of ministry.

    Cupcake ministry!

  84. practicing the sacraments are the surest ways of engaging in fresh vision, in fact, i’d say even more than sermons

  85. Xenia says:

    I do agree that the jargon used in the examples given is pretty much unbearable.

  86. Michael says:

    Good stuff, Gman!

  87. Xenia says:

    When I was on a committee to get our Christian high school certified we had to come up with five vision statements and we had to use that kind of pompous language.

  88. Nonnie says:

    Gman, Thank you for that article. Wonderful. That is my favourite film!!

  89. Xenia says:

    The disconnect I am seeing in this thread (probably propagated by yours truly) is the difference between genuine supernatural visions and dreams from God and “optimistic ideas.” They aren’t the same thing. You have to trust your pastor pretty well if you are going to believe he has actually had a supernatural visitation from the Lord.

  90. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I’m the last person who will deny the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in the assembly.
    I certainly do not preclude the Holy Spirit working providentially in and through pastors.
    That would be foolish and unbiblical.
    However, I also believe that He does so through mom in the nursery and the plumber in the back row and the elderly couple front and center.
    When we build a culture where only the pastor is hearing from God we’ve destroyed both the gifting and participation of the whole community.
    In my opinion… 🙂

  91. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I have my hands full just delivering the message every week and living it out in church and community.
    That I do so in any meaningful way is an act of supernatural grace in itself.

  92. Michael says:

    I’m coming down with something…I need to take my leave for a while.
    Thank you all for your input today!

  93. Michael, I’m going to dare to speak healing to you as a flawed and imperfect messenger of your Heavenly Father, with the disclaimer that the religious stuff is fun but not required…

    May your rest be multiplied, your health be swiftly restored and your vision be lifted by the joy of fatherhood, and may your cats purr at your touch.

  94. Ian Elsasser says:

    It seems to me Proverbs 29.18 has to do with lack of prophetic activity among the people and dovetails with Amos 8.11-12 where “hearing the words of the Lord” is prophetic words. Revelation 2-3 is an example of prophetic utterances given to churches encouraging and rebuking/correcting unto faithfulness.

    We need this in our day. Churches may be on the wrong track and believers withering because of it. Other churches may be oppressed and believers facing difficulties and need word of endurance.

  95. Dude says:

    My former CC pastor did his vision casting on New Years eve.He would then have copied on paper and passed out to the church.Every year it said the same thing word for word.When I left the church 6 years ago nobody was paying attention to it anymore.

  96. Nonnie says:

    Amen to Gman’s prayer.

  97. filbertz says:

    vision casting, as I understand it, is attempting to get the group to adopt the same priorities, direction, or purpose as the leader. It is an attempt to shape or frame the discussion and decisions moving forward. It is another example of church leaders taking their cues from the business world. Vision in a biblical sense is much different than ‘picturing’ what a corporation should look like in twelve months or three years.

  98. Neo says:

    Gman. ” The Apostle” is one of my favorite films ever. Right there with “The Mission”, “Chariots of Fire”, and “Tommy Boy”.

  99. Neo says:

    Concerning the topic at hand, I completely agree with the nuisance of the Evangelical so called “Vision Cast”. JUST as annoying is a pastor or church that has no vision.

  100. Steve Wright says:

    That’s more the reality.
    —————————–
    Andrew. Yours is one reality. Mine is another. They both happen in the church today. They both are valid descriptions of reality.

    I offer no comment on which happens “more”

  101. I think a pastor (or anyone in the church) would be wise to say, “I have an idea … what do you think?”

    Why does it need to be called a vision? Don’t ideas come from God?

  102. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia – I hear where you are coming from. I guess my take would be this. Let’s say the pastor (or elder board or whatever) had a “vision” of a thriving elementary school on church property. It’s only a vision from God if it actually comes to pass. At the same time, it will never come to pass if the church does not commit resources and proceed with the process of building, staffing and enrolling students into the new school.

    So there is sort of a tension there. But again, that’s how it is throughout the Bible. God using man for His purposes.

  103. Steve,
    What I have brought to our board is to ask a simple question when a new idea comes up. This question is asked just to get the ball rolling.

    “Would God be against us doing this?” So if the idea for a school came up, I think that is a more appropriate question than “Is this God’s will?”

  104. Michael says:

    Nonnie and G….thanks.
    I think I’m trying to fight off a bug.

  105. Andrew says:

    Andrew. Yours is one reality. Mine is another. They both happen in the church today. They both are valid descriptions of reality.
    _____________________________________________________________________

    Steve,
    I understand your reality; however what I think you are talking about is “voting with your feet” and not really vision casting which is the topic of this post. Perhaps Michael can someday do a post on “voting with your feet” which is another very popular saying/doctrine coming from Chuck Smith.

  106. Steve Wright says:

    I agree with that concept MLD (your #103). I’m coming at it from the POV like Papias experienced. I’m the guy who might get an occasional question “What is your vision for 2014” – not typically from anyone at the church though..

    That’s the other side of the coin. On the one hand, pastors who want to shove some new vision down everyone’s throat with the threat of “If we don’t do this we ‘perish'”….on the other hand are those who use the same verse to try and influence and pressure leadership that somehow if they don’t have some “fresh vision” they are going to stagnate and die. I reject the idea that if you aren’t growing then you are dying. That’s not true at all.

    New and different is not necessarily better (or worse). Stability and consistency is very underrated. I don’t have the slightest concern or pressure about some vision for the new year. We keep doing what we are doing. Hopefully have the money to expand some mission work and put a little aside in savings.

    As far as church growth. Yeah, we could realistically and comfortably add 100 people or so…25 each over four services. That would be cool. Of course, 1000 new people would be a major problem and the absolute last thing I would want to see happen..

    So I tend to chuckle a little at some of the spam I get about “doubling the size of your congregation” – they’re talking to the wrong guy.

  107. Steve Wright says:

    Hi Andrew.

    No, I am talking about the person who says “This church needs a XYZ ministry. My last church had an XYZ ministry and it was awesome. We don’t do that here. We need to start that.”

    Ok, who is going to lead it? Do you want to? (No, I don’t have the time)
    Where is it going to meet, your house? (No, I figured sometime here at the church)
    Where is the funding going to come from, your pocket? (No, the church would fund it)

    Then getting upset and moving on when told, Sorry, the church can’t accommodate something like that right now.

    I’m a big priesthood of believers guy, and think that all Christians do the work of the ministry – so if God is putting something on someone’s heart then I say “Go for it!” – but God putting something on someone’s heart is not the same as someone putting their trip on the local church.

    And my wife and I lived that for many years before I ever became the pastor at CCLE. We felt led to do something, and we did it. We never went to anyone and said “Hey, I need you to support my vision”

    Maybe that explains the distinction I am talking about.

  108. My church had a vision in 1968 when it was established by the founding members – to have a faithful Lutheran witness in the Saddleback Valley.

    Why would we need a new one? It takes all we have to continue the original “vision”.

  109. Good article, Michael.

    Xenia,
    I think the Acts verse is referring to things that happen in our world today. Just not in reference to “vision casting” as church leaders use it.
    I read about accounts of visions happening throughout the Islamic world right now. These visions lead people to seek out Christians and lead people to Christ or lead Christians to those who need Christ. They are always centered on Christ though.

    “Vision Casting” just sounds wrong to me. Mainly in the second word which either calls to mind someone casting dice or casting a spell.
    I am like MLD, just call it what it is, which is just goal setting.
    If the goal setting isn’t out to magnify Christ and glorify him, well then it is probably of the flesh.
    As I have said before, “vision casting” brings to mind someone throwing bones in a backroom to divine the future.

  110. James says:

    Hey Xenia,
    I took your advice and I am reading Clement of Rome. In the Greek. I just had to laugh just now when Clement wrote of the Phoenix. Somehow appropriate.

  111. Andrew says:

    Steve,

    Sorry if I misunderstood you. I have been in a church before where I had some good ideas but the pastor told me, not in this church you won’t. I didn’t ask for money. I didn’t ask for a leader or even a place to meet. It was just not part of his vision and he would have nothing to do with it.

  112. Andrew – Ahhh! competing visions.

  113. Royce says:

    Another hurl-inducing expression that goes hand-in-hand with “vision casting”:

    > Reverse Engineering.

    http://manbootcamp.org/2009/12/reverse-engineering-your-life

  114. Neo says:

    “I have an idea” isn’t quite as compelling as “I have a dream”. Don’t you think MLK would agree, MLD? 🙂

  115. Xenia says:

    I think the phrase “vision casting” does remind me of the scene in Willow where the shaman was throwing bones down on the ground to predict the future. But even though the phrase is a little goofy, that doesn’t preclude the possibility of a genuine, supernatural vision on the part of a pastor. I kept quoting the Acts verse to remind everyone that God does speak to people by means of visions and dreams. Not just to pastors, of course, but I also believe that pastors have a special gifting from God to help them guide their congregations and I don’t see any reason this communication from God could not come in the form of a genuine supernatural vision.

    Turns out, we are not really talking about Acts 2 style visions here at all. Instead, we are talking about CEO style goal-setting, couched in pseudo-mystical language, with veiled threats about dissidents being thrown under a bus. If this is what we are talking about, I understand why people here are against it. Saying it is “from the pit of hell” is a bit extreme but this is our blog host’s favorite phrase so whatcha gonna do.

    I like MLD’s “I have an idea…. what do you all think?”

  116. Steve Wright says:

    “Vision Casting” just sounds wrong to me
    ————————————————
    It sort of hit me. Casting to me is about fishing. And fishing is about as uncertain as it gets. You cast and if nothing happens, you go cast somewhere else.

    That sort of fits though, right? It’s fishing. If it works, then great – God told them to do it. If not, then it is forgotten for the next casting down the road.

    I think a true vision from God is 100% certain. No room for “casting” language…

  117. Ixtlan says:

    Vision casting requires a leader to take the front position, to be the center of attention as he models the particulars that is necessary for fulfillment. That makes it nearly impossible to truly take the role of a servant and wash the feet of those who are under his care.

  118. And if fish come up with one casting, they can claim the Lord told them to cast on that side of the boat. But they will, like you say forget about it if nothing comes up in the net.

    I have been thinking about something lately and let me preface this with, I would love to see a giant awakening happen and many people come to God.

    But here is what I have seen a little of in reading some in Acts.
    All the big numbers of people coming to God, happen in the early chapters amongst the Jewish people, a people primed to accept the Messiah.
    Later when Paul goes to the Gentiles, they quit talking numbers.
    Reading this sometimes leads me to think that the actual normal for church growth is not the spectacular numbers we see at first, but the smaller, but steady growth later.

    I think a lot of this “vision casting” and other craziness in the evangelical world comes from chasing after numbers.

    Any thoughts on this?

  119. Xenia says:

    Some of you folks are coming pretty close to saying that anyone can have a vision except a pastor, and if he should receive one he had better keep it to himself.

  120. Xenia says:

    See, I like pastors. I happen to love mine very much. I am not suspicious of him and in fact, I trust him. The chances of him announcing to the parish during his homily that he has received a vision from God is about zero but if he did, I would believe him.

    So I am not coming from a position of suspicion but one of trust.

  121. Xenia,
    “The chances of him announcing to the parish during his homily that he has received a vision from God is about zero but if he did, I would believe him.”

    I think the part you are missing in this is that the people that I have seen do the “vision casting” aren’t just sharing the vision to inform or feel out the congregation – they are implementing the vision right then from the pulpit.

  122. Proverbs 29:18
    Where there is no vision, the people perish…

  123. Jean says:

    I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a post elicit this much feedback. If there’s one overall (although not universal) view, it’s that people are very cynical and distrustful of clergy. I can’t say I blame you, but wow, there must be a lot of false prophets out there.

  124. Hit the button to soon. Where there is no God’s Word, the people perish.

  125. I don’t distrust or hate pastors.
    In fact, I have never had a “vision casting” pastor.

    My church experience has never been the mega-church experience.
    The largest church I attended was in Rapid City with about 300 people and that seemed like too many to me.
    “Vision casting”/goal setting seems to be a megachurch or megachurch wannabe term to me.
    Not against a pastor having a real vision and sharing it.
    If it is of God, people will know it because they will be able to test it against scripture.

  126. Xenia says:

    I don’t doubt that there is abuse. I disagree with probably 75 percent of the practices of these kinds of churches anyway so this “vision casting” business, as you all have described it here, would just be another thing I would disagree with.

    I was attempting to correct some of the extreme statements made in the thread which I do not believe are true, such as:

    “God hates visionary dreaming”

    and

    “How do we hear God today?…through His Word”

    The point I have trying to make today was not that the type of vision casting you all have described is good but that just because some men are manipulative in the name of the Lord doesn’t mean all pastors are. People (even pastors!) do receive visions from God and we (all of us) can hear from God by means other than the Bible.

  127. covered says:

    Xenia, thank you for saying that you love and trust your pastor. You have a way of convincing us that you believe what you say and that is refreshing.

  128. covered says:

    Jean, you hit the nail on the head with your #123 which makes it difficult to comment at times. If The Lord put something on my heart like some sort of outreach feeding a group of homeless people, I guess I shouldn’t share that with the congregation? Perhaps that idea came from Satan?

  129. Michael says:

    covered,

    Of course you should.
    That’s completely different from coming up with a plan on your own and then forcing the church to get on board or get lost.

  130. Michael says:

    I think that very few people have “visions” and that the norm is for people to hear from God through the scriptures and providence.
    Any vision or ‘word” that doesn’t corroborate the written word is from the imagination of the one having the experience.

  131. Neo says:

    Too often, “vision casting” means get on board or get run over.

  132. Nonnie says:

    Of course God gives pastors ideas, He inspires them, His love through them is going to reach out to the community in a variety of ways and each individual church will be used differently. I believe He still gives visions.

    I don’t think vision casting sermons are going to be about feeding the homeless…more likely they are going to be about doubling the size of the congregation, planting satellite churches, new buildings…bigger and better, to reach the world!!

    Feeding the homeless would most likely not be in one of those vision casting sermon.

    Google vision casting and look at all the business links like the Great Transfer of Wealth Conference, etc. etc.

    Why use big business terminology that is designed to make lots of money and gain power and build empires for the vision caster??

  133. I have an entirely other perspective on “Vision.”
    http://shekinahfellowship.blogspot.com/2013/10/vision.html

    Embracing vision, not casting it.

  134. Kevin H says:

    Okay, back in for (maybe) one last comment in effort to explain my self maybe a little bit better.

    I agree that the term “vision casting” is an unfortunate term when used within the church. It certainly gives the connotation of a CEO setting the direction and goals for a business. And probably the large majority of those within the church who choose to use this term are hucksters with significant desires of their own power, control, and money.

    I still think, however, we are being too condemning of anything “visionary” within the church itself. If you look up the term visionary in the dictionary there are a variety of nuances given on the definitions. If you read them and picture them in the church setting, some of the definitions do not fit very well at all within the church while others, at least I think, are more palatable.

    I also think when we think of a church pastor or church leader claiming to be visionary, we picture that person as being primarily focused on things like greater attendance and more money coming into the church and a big production stage and coffee shops and the like. But is this necessarily always the case or does it need to be the case?

    The part of the original article that I have signficant disagreement with is Bonhoeffer’s condemnation of visionary dreaming. (And I really like Bonhoeffer and have great respect for him, so my disagreement is not biased at all by my dislike for the man.) I still think God gifts some people more than others at being visionaries, and that it’s not wrong to use that gift within the church as long as it is used in a responsible and respectful fashion.

    For example, a church leadership team may have someone who is more gifted at being a visionary (and it wouldn’t even necessarily have to be the senior pastor). In that particular church setting and situation, that person may have a better sense of seeing how the church can carry out it’s mission within the church and its community. And again, I’m not talking necessarily about a focus on gaining more people and money. But how are some good ways the church can carry out its mission? And I’m meaning more than the obvious things like preaching the gospel and caring for people and helping them to grow in their faith. Seeing and leading how some of these things can be done in some practical senses. Be it a soup kitchen, or a kids program, or an adult discipleship program, or some type of evangelistic outreach.

    And then the person who was more gifted at envisioning and leading these types of things would approach them in a regardful fashion. They don’t just get up in front of the church and say this is my vision and this waht what we are going to do. They take the ideas or thoughts or visions to the other leaders of the church and see what they think. Maybe they talk to others in the church who may not even be part of any formal leadership. And then if there is enough agreement and good will, they move forward with leading the “vision”. There is no manipulation or intimidation or strong-arming. Only a respectful and humble approach.

    So is this type of scenario possible? Maybe some don’t see this as being visionary. I guess I do. And no, not all visions or visionary leadership would come from just one person. But I still think some are more gifted in this type of area than others and so more of it would come from one person or a group of people than others.

    Okay, enough of my long ramble. I’m done now. 🙂

  135. Andrew says:

    Andrew – Ahhh! competing visions

    _____________________________________________________________________

    Yes, and I fell into the trap of following the example of my pastor. You see if a leader is vision casting, its only natural that their followers would do the same. Its called leading by example. Vision casters breed vision casters. This is where pastors need to step up to the plate and start distancing themselves from this practice.

  136. Well, in the end I am much like Xenia – I love and trust my pastor … but then again, I am on a 3 person panel that does his performance review each year. 🙂

  137. Josh Hamrick says:

    There is a baby and some bathwater here. We don’t have to throw them both out.

  138. covered says:

    Nonnie, I totally receive your #132 and I understand the difference between doing what I am called to do and “casting visions” for greater success. My comment and snarky comment was in reference to those who think that all pastors are thieves, liars and celebrity wannabees.

  139. Chile says:

    Casting visions … my observation has come up with the following:
    1. Gives the pastor a way to validate himself, why he gets paid the bucks to be their leader.
    2. Gives the pastor the power to control the narrative and how people use their time.
    3. Makes the pastor the center of the ring.
    4. Why not, the pastor has people who have to do the work for him if they are to be in with God, so they’ve been told.
    5. Great way to keep the lemmings in line.

  140. Chile says:

    Casting visions has nothing to do with what is actually going on with the people.

  141. Ok I see some “pastor” bashing in some of the above post. And I have to honestly say it bothers me greatly. Do you realize that this site is a pastors blog? A pastor who has been given to the Body of Christ as a ministry gift.

    Not all who call themselves pastors are God’s pastors, but there are those working among us who are the genuine ministry gifts of God to us.

    Ephesians 4:11

    King James Version (KJV)

    11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

    He gave. The Lord Jesus Christ gave these ministry gifts.

    There actually is a government of God established by God for His Church the Body of Christ. We are not to rebel against God’s government.

    There was an erroneous teaching that surfaced some time back that stressed what it termed “body ministry.” (And there is some truth to that. God does use everyone.) But some taught, “we don’t need pastors and ministers any longer. God is not using ministers any more. God has a different program now.”

    The Scripture says that He gave these gifts to men, “Till we all come…unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

    Until Jesus comes, “all of us” will never come to that place of maturity. when Jesus comes, some babe in Christ will just have been born into the family of God. they will not have had time to mature.

    These ministry gifts are God’s program for the maturing of the saints until Christ comes for His own.

    What is the ultimate aim of all ministry?

    Ephesians 4:13-16

    King James Version (KJV)

    13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

    14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

    16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

    1. The Church needs all-round spiritual growth to arrive at her destined perfection in Christ.

    2. Spiritual children are easily disturbed and swept away by false things.

    3. The ministry gifts Christ placed in the Church help us grow up into His image.

    4. We cannot reach that place without the function of the fivefold ministry.

    5. Some areas of Christendom have not matured beyond a certain stage of growth because they recognize only two or three ministry gifts: evangelist and pastor, and sometimes teacher.

    Summary:
    The ultimate aim of all ministry is not for self glory or to magnify the human in any way. It is entirely toward the Body of Christ. It takes all these ministries functioning to edify- build up- the Body of Christ.

    You know who the ministry gifts of God are, they glorify Christ and do not magnify themselves.

    Surely some of you can put in a good word for those who labor among you in God’s government…

  142. Chile,
    “5. Great way to keep the lemmings in line.”

    I am happy to see that you have finally properly identified those who continually cry abuse.

    Lemmings is a good word – people who just look to follow to their own harm.

    .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOOs8MaR1YM

  143. Chile says:

    No, MLD, that is not what I’m saying.

    The Lemmings are those who walk lock-step with what they are told to do. The spiritual abuse stories that I hear -and that I experienced- happened as a result of not walking in lock-step, daring to speak the truth, daring to question, simply doing what is right when that veered from the orders given.

    Those who followed obediently, regardless if it flew in the face of love and truth, continued on without obvious consequences … at least from the Lemming Leaders anyway. They will answer to God eventually.

    MLD, I pray for you. I pray you will one day grow a heart.

  144. Chile says:

    David, it appears we simply disagree on the duties of the pastor. I have great respect for the office as I do for other offices and giftings. I have a great disdain for anything anyone does in the name of gawd, that is actually to advance their own self-importance and to diminish the Body of Christ, the church universal and the local Church. In my estimation, Vision Casting fits in the later category. I do not see that as a job of a pastor.

    What I wrote was not intended to “bash” the office, nor all men occupying the office … just those who are vision casting.

  145. David sloane says:

    Chile,
    Sorry, I wasn’t targeting you personally. I do understand that you were describing the actions and motives of self appointed ‘pastors and not God called pastors. I liked your usage of the lemmings word, made me chuckle to myself.

  146. Nonnie says:

    Covered’s 139. I’m glad you understand that I was not pastor bashing. I know and respect too many good men (and women) in ministry. I certainly know there are wonderful, committed pastors to love the Lord and love the people in the flock God has graciously given them….they are giving themselves away serving Jesus. Men and women who understand they serve by the grace of God, who are trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to serve, not the power of worldly gimmicks and catch phrases..

    My irk is with those who use show biz, motivational and manipulation gimmicks the world uses and brings them into the church to whip people up to follow the agenda.

    There reverence and awe of God seems to be lost in some evangelical churches.
    Instead some get a rock concert with a motivational, empire building or self improvement message.

  147. Andrew says:

    I personally have not seen any pastor bashing in this post. I have seen a lot of vision casting bashing which I believe is rightly deserved. Anyhow I want to encourage all the faithful pastors out there. It truly is a honorable office that we in the body of Christ need. For those pastors doing it, keep up the good work.

  148. victorious says:

    Vision casting for Jesus manifests itself in John Chapters 13-17. It begins with a welcoming of the unworthy with an act of honor of care with an accompanying command to carry out that vision by his followers. It concludes with a prayer for sustained fellowship of many enjoyed with God and one another.

    For Paul, vision casting is described in the epistle to the Ephesians. In that vision, blessed individuals are illuminated to the reality that they are in process of being prepared as a bride, built up as a temple and being bonded together in a holy love.

    To the degree a pastor or other leader wishes to emphasize these realities and help promote the understanding and practice of them within a given year you could say they were practicing a Spirit born and biblically justified form of “vision casting”.

  149. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Isn’t “Vision Casting” a shamanistic thing?

    Which made the jump into the Pop-Spirituality/Play Religion version of “Superior Native American Spirituality”?

    (After all, Wesley Crusher ascended to Godhood through the agency of a Native American Shaman in Star Trek: The Next Generation…)

  150. Chile says:

    My last pastor, who was summarily deposed (only to resurrect to scam again,) was casting a vision “given to him by gawd” just before he was caught in systemic ongoing sin. He believed gawd was telling him to purchase a nearby hotel and turn it into a conference center, thus becoming the center of the CC universe; which I assume would have procured his need to be the man in control, the man people have to play up to. The lemmings were supposed to give the money to make it happen, then be the unpaid -or poorly paid- slaves … I mean servants … to keep it running. The pastor could take his throne, call all the shots and reap the financial rewards.

    A less sinister vision casting would be a pastor wanting to have a young, hip, cool church, thereby needing to minimize the elderly congregants. This ignores the makeup of the people you have been entrusted to care for and caters to only one subset of people. The pastor thus chooses some method whereby the people are then supposed to do the work to make it happen … even if it divides the generations and marginalizes some.

    I, personally, think that any time a pastor just decides what and how it’s going to be without taking into consideration who the congregants are and what they want and need, is not actually a servant leader leading/serving with love and true care. Every church has to be congregational at some level in the end. The people must have some say, vision casting is the opposite of that.

  151. Chile says:

    Thanks for the clarification, David.

  152. Andrew says:

    Well said Chile!

    “A less sinister vision casting would be a pastor wanting to have a young, hip, cool church, thereby needing to minimize the elderly congregants. This ignores the makeup of the people you have been entrusted to care for and caters to only one subset of people.”

    Actually, I think this can be more sinister but maybe less obvious to the casual observer. This goes right back to what Dietrich Bonhoeffer said which is definable worth repeating:

    “God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians which his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together.”

    Quite often a marginalized subset of people or demographic will be left out if its not part of the pastors vision. It is impossible to address this systemic kind of problem especially in a non-member or Moses Model type church. Attenders bringing these types of concerns will only be labeled as discontented people grumbling in the wilderness that need a Moses leader to hear directly from God for them.

  153. Chile says:

    Thanks, Andrew.

    Excellent quote, “God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious….”

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