There are great visions and small visions. There are clear visions and hazy ones.
I go to the ophthalmologist once a year. There is a general eye test, but he is extremely thorough putting me through a series of exams that are nearly blinding as he exams the eye intently for any abnormality or disease. My prescription has changed through the years. When I was young, I was near sighted needing glasses for distance. Now, I can see well at a distance, but need glasses for reading.
Vision changes with age and circumstances. I have learned that stress can play havoc with our health, our immune system, and our mental health. I remember being told that my grandfather Lewis when white haired over night when he learned of his sister’s death. Stress, emotion has a lot to do with our well being.
Vision for individuals, for businesses, for nations, and for churches can change rapidly with the changing tides of life. What works in a time of peace may not work in a time of war. The sensitivities of peace time may give way to harsher circumstances in times of distress. The victims of hurricanes and tornadoes have their lives and goals change in a matter of minutes. Where once they were thinking of how to beautify the garden, they are now forced into new goals and vision which is more survival in nature and recovery from devastation.
A recession will change the vision and goal of a business rapidly. The sales and vision are adjusted. Goals are shortened up and projections are far more conservative. Unemployment, cut in pay, unforeseen financial set back, health issues change an individual’s vision of life and look into the future.
Likewise the vision of a church regularly needs a check up. As you sit in the chair at the doctor, you go through a series of questions. “Better or Worse?” “A…..B?” “Now, is this better?” All the time you are making judgement calls for your own sight. As the test gets closer to what you need, the choices become harder and the differences ever so slight. Sometimes in your mind, you just go with one because it is so close the same that the distinction is negligible.
So, while we are starting with our Strategic Vision Statement we are sitting down knowing that we need glasses. Our vision is poor. The prescription has to change in order for us to be able to see and navigate life. We know that we will see better soon. We are looking deep into the eye to not only correct vision, but to see if there is some lurking disease or abnormality that needs addresses. We also know that the closer we get to the correction, the more difficult it will be to make the distinctions as to what is better or best.
In our situation we have diagnosed the poor vision as a lack of outreach. The correction of vision begins, but we also have a problem in the eye. Our vision is distorted from years of tradition, old ways, and some calcification. It is always fearful when they start messing with the eyes. We are very protective of our eyes. So, outreach has to have a new prescription. We need fitted with a fresh vision, corrective lenses. We need to see the world for the first time. No longer men as trees walking, but men and women clearly seen, no distortions. Can we with new lenses serve simply and love deeply?