Vision is the ability to see. We value our vision because if it fails we would no longer see the sweet faces of our children, the precious smile of our spouse or the innocence of an infant. Practically we would not be able to drive or do the daily things so common but so important. Vision is critical. It is also true that we must have a vision of the future. To say that someone has vision is to say they know what they want to do and where they want to go. They have a plan. In business, as in life, to fail to plan is to plan to fail.
Our elders are issuing a mighty challenge this morning. They have begun the plans for a tremendous brick and mortar expansion of our facilities here. They have set before us beautiful, functional facility that will meet our needs for some years to come. They believe that this body of Christ will continue to grow and will need (and already does need) the new spaces. Now is the time for us to step up and make that vision our own. Our elders are great and Godly men but they cannot make this vision happen for us.
On the floor plans you see this morning, you will note that there are no people in the pews. Only you and I can fill those seats. But it’s really about far more than pew-packing for every body sitting in a pew is a soul coming to worship our God. Each person becomes a hearer of the word (James 1:23) and stands at the beginning of a working relationship with Christ. Each soul you help put in the pew is one more taken from the domain of darkness and translated into the kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13).
While the new facility is beautiful and something to be pleased with, it is not the church. The church will use the building as a tool but the church is never bricks and mortar – it is always flesh, blood, body and soul. The expansion of our campus is a sign of our growth but it is not growth itself. We must never lose sight of the evangelistic priorities of the church. Our chief shepherd sent us to tell others of his love and his redemption (Matthew 28:18,19). Only by pressing on against that mission can we fill the new pews to overflowing.
The new work will challenge us spiritually for we will be faced with the need for growing the kingdom more. The Lord desires all men to be saved (Acts 17:30; 2 Peter 3:9). Let us never be satisfied or complacent with our growth but daily rededicate ourselves to expanding the kingdom. As long as there is even one lost person our work must not slow.
The new work will challenge us financially as we move toward groundbreaking. Our elders deeply desire to complete the work without going into debt. Whether that is possible depends upon the generosity of the membership. Next Sunday, every penny will go toward the building fund and that should put us about halfway toward paying cash for the first phase.
The new work will challenge us personally. It is likely that the coming months will see some inconveniences for us as we work, plan and build. It is also likely that there are some things about the new plans that are different from what you might choose. Let’s not get caught up in disagreements about the color of the carpet but let us keep in mind the real goal which is the salvation of men’s souls. This is a great moment for the church at Eastern Shore and an exciting time to be a member here.
Be sure and thank the elders for the foresight and vision. They have done great work already!