The Importance of Vision and Language

Proverbs 29:18a (the “a” just means the first part of the verse) reads, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

The understanding or interpretation of this verse is simple: if we are not looking and planning ahead we’re gonna die! Make no bones about it, there are plenty of dying churches all around us these days. Why have so many churches become irrelevant to their communities? Why do churches refuse to look and plan ahead?

These are good questions. Sometimes, many times in fact, churches spend far too much time looking inward at themselves rather than looking outward into their communities. Churches are deemed as irrelevant because of this inward thinking. Even how we talk and sing is often foreign to a visitor’s ear. What is a bulletin, or an anthem? What is a pulpit or lectern? What is the Trinity? And how about the Holy Ghost?

If you are an active church member you might use language and terms like these without even thinking about them. But when was the last time you heard a public conversation outside of church about the Holy Ghost? You see, our language is foreign to newcomers and it’s like we are speaking a foreign language to them. Sprechen die Deutusche? Sprechen die church?

We believe God loves everybody but the way we speak does not portray this adequately or clearly. To the outsider, it sounds like we are shrouding the truth and protecting it all for ourselves!

It is imperative that our vision is not focused inwardly. God calls us to reach out to others, just as in the story of The Good Samaritan. Who is our neighbor? What is God asking us to do for our neighbor?

As we live out our vision we need to really pay attention to how we talk. We need to carefully choose the proper words we use to include those who are not churched. We have an important message to share with them… we just need to be extra careful in how we communicate this important message!