Have You Heard The One About…

So a metal drummer, folk guitarist, and a classically trained pianist walk into a church… While that sounds like the opening line to a joke, I’m actually describing the real life situation for the average worship team around the world. At your church the instrument and style differences may vary but the results are the same. So what happens next? The drummer brings in a double bass pedal and adds a bit of aggression to every song, the electric guitar player ‘solos’ over everything, the acoustic player lightly strums, and the keyboardist plays the whole thing as if no one else was there. Unfortunately, it’s the typical Sunday sonic chaos that really never had much of a chance for success to begin with, mainly for a lack of one thing: a common vision.

So what is vision? Though often seen as a lofty ministry or business buzz word, vision is actually a lot easier to figure out than you might think. All you have to do is imagine what perfection would look like. In the context of a church, what would the perfect Sunday morning service look like? I’m not talking about what if nothing went wrong, but what if you could have everything exactly the way you wanted and had all the money and people you needed to make it happen. 

Take a moment to imagine and be conscious of the details. What does it look like? Are the lights low, lights on, or are the lights moving? What style of clothes are you wearing? What does it sound like? How loud is it? How many people are there? What’s the number of people on your team? Where are you standing? How are the people reacting to what you are doing? How long is the worship? How long is the message? What is the order of service? Where do the announcements fall? How long is the service? How many more questions is this article going to ask? 

Whether or not you’ve ever realized it before, this mental picture of what things could be in a ‘perfect world’ is your personal vision. Most certainly it’s pretty awesome. It also probably lies just at the edge between possible and impossible. So why hasn’t it come to pass yet? While some of the delay might seem to be for a lack resources like time and money, the real reason everyone doesn’t just do things the way you imagine they should is that they too have a vision for how things should be. That’s right, each person has a unique vision that, if left alone, by default will cause teams and ministries to pull against each other instead of pulling each other along. 

This predestination to struggle isn’t by chance, but is actually the result of a Biblical principle that says if you leave people to follow their own vision, according to Proverbs 29:18, “they will perish” or as some translations say, “the people will cast off restraint.” Meaning that, without a common vision, people will just do whatever seems good to them personally. Why did the drummer bring a zinc cymbal in the shape of an X and metal drumsticks to church? It seemed good to them simply because it moves them closer to fulfilling the vision in their head. Why does the keyboardist chord everything? Why does this person do this and that person does that? It’s same reason that is true for each person on the team; it fulfills personal vision and it seems good to them to do it. It’s not that personal vision is bad. You should know what it is, where to apply it, and understand it’s timing because miss-applied personal vision most often causes frustration for everyone. However, if your church or ministry team wants to get something done, the foundational bond that will keep a group of individuals together and moving forward is a common vision. 

…to be continued