I opened up Facebook and saw this quote from Louie Giglio, posted by Ministry Grid, a new arm of Lifeway Christian Resources, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention:
I think that comes out of a passage you’ll find in 3 Timothy.
But seriously, where oh where in the Bible are pastorsoverseersbishopselders told to cast vision for the people? Nowhere. That’s where.
- “shepherd the flock of God… exercising oversight… proving to be an example to the flock” (1 Pet 5:2-3)
- “keep watch over [their] souls as [one] who will give an account” (Heb 13:17).
- live by faith in such a way that others should imitate it (Heb 13:7).
- “[hold] fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that [I] will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict” (Tit 1:9).
- point out things to the brethren such as the fact some will fall away from the faith, deceitful spirits, doctrines of demons, hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, and more (1 Tim 4:1-6).
- suffer “for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved [me] and called [me] with a holy calling, not according to [my] works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted [me] in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Tim 1:8-9).
- “entrust [the things which I have learned in the faith] to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” In other words, make disciples who will make more disciples (2 Tim 2:2).”
- “be diligent to present [myself] approved of God, as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).
- “continue in the things [I] have learned and become convinced of” (2 Tim 3:15).
- “preach the word; [being] ready in season and out of season; [reproving, rebuking, exhorting], with great patience and instruction. . . . be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, [and] fulfill [my] ministry” (2 Tim 4:2-5).
Nary do I find a command to cast vision. I find many commands to go back to the word of God, studying it myself, preaching and teaching it to others, that disciples might follow Jesus.
I remember about twenty years or so ago a campaign at the church I grew up in. It may have been a building campaign (it probably was), but the verse that seemed to be on placards all over the church was Proverbs 29:18, which says,
Where there is no vision, the people are perish.
That’s actually the King James Version. The New American Standard Bible more accurately reflects the Hebrew, as it is rendered,
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained.
And if you read that, it seems like Louie Giglio and Ministry Grid have a point.
That’s not all Proverbs 29:18 says. And if you read all of what Proverbs 29:18 says, you understand what the writer means by vision. Why don’t we read it all together right now?
Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
But happy is he who keeps the law.
The writer of this Proverb is talking about THE WORD OF GOD! Not some grand vision cast out of the desires of some pastor to see success within his congregation. Let me tell you something… I don’t trust ME to know what is best for my church. I’m utterly inadequate in and of myself for what I do. Thanks be to God that “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God” (2 Cor 4:5).
The vision of Proverbs 29:18 is not a strategy for the next year, or five years, or ten years at your church. The vision is revelation from God (correctly rendered by the HCSB). And not a little inner prompting you think is from the Holy Spirit, but by the more sure word of Scripture (2 Pet 1:19-21). That’s why the Proverb says “happy is he who keeps the law,” as opposed to a people who are unrestrained, which is a word carrying with it an “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judg 21:25) kind of feel. The whole point of vision, as it relates to the church then, is to be in the word and obedient to the word, and thus the One whose word it is.
I’m not trying to get my church to a certain place by casting a vision for them to live up to. I’m trying to get my church to the glorious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by preaching the word for them to study themselves (Acts 17:11; 2 Tim 2:15; 4:2).
So be wary, Christian, of pastors who speak of revelations from God that are not the actual word of God. And be wary, Christian, of those who speak of casting visions. Some of them may be well intentioned, but it’s simply not part of a pastor’s job description (as found in the completed revelation we already have, the Bible).