Vision Sunday 2017

Vision Sunday
Pastor Stephen "Red" Shumate
February 26th, 2017
Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee at

Listen to full sermon here.

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What is Vision Sunday?
Each year on the last Sunday of February, we take some time to cast the vision for the upcoming year.  But before we cast that vision for this year, let me first take a moment to lay out what I envision a fully functioning church to look like.

To me…a fully functioning or fully grown church (no matter their physical size), is one that has many different areas or focuses.  Of course, all of these areas point towards and glorify God.  God is the ultimate focus of everything we do.  But there are 3 different areas or focuses specifically…that I believe all churches should work towards.

1. The first focus is inward…one where the church is teaching its people and guiding them in their growth and their walk with Christ.  

Acts 2:41-42
So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people were added to them. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to the prayers.

Here we see, one of the first things that the early church did was they devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles.  And that is what we are talking about here in the first area of focus.  And if we keep on reading in Acts, what we will see is that the early church really was one big family…helping one another… teaching one another…rebuking one another…they were concerned with their walk with God and their brother’s walk with God.

And a church really should be like a family, in that we are all in different stages of life (and spiritual growth) but we all work together to help each other grow.  Older ones, help the younger ones…when someone is sick, we all pitch in to help.  But in order to do that, we need to be healthy ourselves, right?  And so the first goal of a church is to make sure it’s people have a healthy relationship with God.

And this is really what we have spent the last 3 years at this church working on.  And I think we’ve come a long way in this area… Don’t get me wrong We still have a long way to go…but we have really taken some time to get back to the basics and really rebuild ourselves.

2. The next focus that a church should have is outward focus… and what we mean by that is to reach out and help our local community (our neighbors).  

The two greatest commands are love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul and mind and the second is like it…to love your neighbor as yourself.  And the first focus covers the greatest command…to love God…and the second is to focus on our neighbors.

Now recently we’ve been talking a lot about helping our neighbors.  And reaching out to the needy.  And scripture tells us very clearly that we should help the needy.  And the thing is, we need to do this both on a personal level, as well as on a church level.

And so, this should be the second focus of a church.  To reach out and help the needy.  Really and truthfully a church should be known in the community as the place to go when you need help.

And for us, now that we have really spent some time, working on the first area of focus, we are now beginning to add in the second area of focus and that is serving our community.

This past year, we really stepped up our game with our mobile food pantry.  And we are going to continue to step it up and focus in on serving our community this year.  And this is our vision for this year and probably for the next several years…that’s where we want to start growing and getting on the right track.

There is one last area that a church needs to have as a focus and that last focus is…

3.Missions both local and global.

Matthew 28:19-20
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember,I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

The church should have a goal to train up it’s people to go out into the world and spread the gospel as well as to support missions through prayer and financial means.

Now, we haven’t really started on this focus as a church just yet.  But the thing is, we are working towards that.  And we will get there.  We have to learn to crawl before we can walk…and we have to learn to walk before we can run…But missions, both local and global, is on my radar, and missions are important to our church.  And we will get there…we are just taking this one step at a time.

But for now, our vision for this year and for the next few years is really to reach out and help our communities.  To serve them and serve them well.  To get to know them, to love them.

And as we go forward as a church…remember…

We are God’s People, 
doing God’s work, 
For God’s creations…

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