Tuesday, November 03, 2015


I am almost always amused, but (sadly) no longer surprised, when I hear church folks talking about the "vision" for the church. It is almost always based on the perceived needs of the community surrounding the church.

I think we get it backwards.

Go back to the Exodus and ask yourself how much of what Israel did was based on the needs of their surroundings. I think you'll conclude that it wasn't, much; God had other ideas for them. He spent quite a bit of time ... and in the Bible ... a number of chapters ,,, explaining how their task was to build the Tabernacle. Of course, the people in the pews, so to speak, didn't have a clue; they were down on the flatlands celebrating a golden calf.

The most interesting part is that Moses had been given a ton of instructions about wood, fine cloth, various metals, precious stones, and all manner of finery. Which would take skilled craftsmen to develop and turn into the altar, poles, drapery, rings & things, and all the other stuff that made up a portable Temple.

I think Moses knew that, and I think God knew that Moses knew it. So, God spoke the words of Exodus 31:

1 "Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. 3 I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, 5 and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship. 6 And behold, I Myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill, that they may make all that I have commanded you: 7 the tent of meeting, and the ark of testimony, and the mercy seat upon it, and all the furniture of the tent, 8 the table also and its utensils, and the pure gold lampstand with all its utensils, and the altar of incense, 9 the altar of burnt offering also with all its utensils, and the laver and its stand, 10 the woven garments as well, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, with which to carry on their priesthood; 11 the anointing oil also, and the fragrant incense for the holy place, they are to make them according to all that I have commanded you.”"

Filled Bezalel with the SPIRIT, and gifted him all all sorts of crafts. Sounds like the Bible's first specific instance of Spiritual gifting, to me.

 Hmm .. I have to think that God knew the purpose of the ekklesia at that time, and had already put the people in their midst, who could carry out the vision. And the "people" didn't include the preacher, other than to deliver the message.

 I have seen many instances of a church announcing a "vision" for the church, and I'd hazard a guess that they were based largely on leadership's perception of the needs of the community, observed looking outward from the church. But back in Moses' day, the vision wouldn't have had much to do with sand & rocks. It had to do with the enabling of worship as God desired.

For the perceptive among them, they might have known that, by the presence of Bezalel and Oholiab.

Oh. That's right. God had to reveal that, and The Holy Ghost wasn't here yet. Hence, direct prophetic revelation.

Fast forward to today. Might it make sense that the "vision" God has for the local church is hinted at by the people God has placed in our midst ... see 1 Corinthians 12 & Romans 12 for details ... rather than by what church leadership sees when they look out the windows, at the community?

It does, to me. But I have never seen a church's "vision" based on the discerned and discovered giftedness of the individual members.

You'd think we'd learn ... some of the most beautiful ministries I know of came from the rank & file, when they had a holy concern for an area that wasn't being addressed.

Maybe it's time for some inward examination, and seeing a vision of more than 15% or 20% of the church's attendance using their gifts in the Kingdom work.

Maybe discipleship is needed among the membership, and maybe moreso among leadership.

I think so.


Post a Comment

<< Home