I have worked with many in the past who considered themselves “visionaries” or “visionary leaders.” I have found that most of the time the label is a too convenient cover/excuse for being interpersonally dysfunctional, relationally obtuse, insensitive, ambitious, and self-centered. The only “vision” the scripture endorses is the accurate unfolding of Jesus Christ for who He is, and that unfolding in people’s hearts. If being “visionary” means leaving human carnage in the wake of your “visionary pursuits,” you are an abuser, not a visionary. The welfare of PEOPLE IS God’s vision. So, the next time you feel “steam-rolled” by someone who claims to be “visionary” . . . stand up . . . say something to protect yourself, and make a change in your associations if you have to.
I did not write those words. Those words are a quote from a dear brother of mine by the name of Stephen Crosby. Although not as eloquently as Crosby, I could have said those words because I have had the same experience in my pursuit of knowing Him. And folks, while it was necessary, it was by no means pretty!
Here’s a little taste of what we are discussing. This particular Vision Caster is pretty well known. This is an actual transcript from one of his teachings.
“You don’t come to this church to be fed. You come here to help me fulfill this vision. That is if God called you here. You haven’t been called here so you can be fed the word. Now, if you get fed in the midst of it, that’s good. But you’ve been called to find your part in bringing this vision to pass in the earth. That’s why you’ve been called to the church. If you don’t understand you have a part to play in this vision to come to pass ……..that’s why God called you. When God calls a person to a church, your called to that church to help that pastor fulfill that vision.”
What do you think about that? Well, the congregation listening to him was clapping and saying loud, “Amens!” while sitting in a hugemongous, multi-million $ facility.
I was trained to be a “vision caster” and hung around some heavy duty “vision casters” in my time, including the one from the transcript above. I know the thought process behind it, the reason for it and the means necessary for perpetuating it. I can tell you, it is not the way of the Kingdom. If ANYTHING, a man, a man’s “anointing”, a church, a cause, even missiology…………(oh my, now I’ve gone and done it!)………if ANYTHING competes, threatens or replaces the CENTRALITY OF CHRIST, it is a work of man and NOT OF THE SPIRIT!
Here’s a promotional video transcript from a huge mega-church. There’s some slick, new age type music playing in the background:
“WE ARE UNITED UNDER ONE VISION. (NAME OF THE) CHURCH IS BUILT ON THE VISION THAT GOD GAVE PASTOR ( SO AND SO). WE WILL AGGRESSIVELY DEFEND OUR UNITY AND THAT VISION!”
That is an interesting one, don’t you think?
Scripture is replete with Father’s intention regarding the supremacy and preeminence of Christ in his place and no man’s vision of developing a religious organization according to the pattern of this age is going to put Christ in that place; He is already there. Christ is the Foundation of and the Head of His Church. He is to be revealed in and through the hearts/lives of His People. That is why Crosby stated above, “The only ‘vision’ the scripture endorses is the accurate unfolding of Jesus Christ for who He is, and that unfolding in people’s hearts.” True New Testament ministry is not to draw people to support a cause with tithe money, endless hours of volunteerism for activities or a bigger facility. True New Testament ministry is steeped in the Spirit of Sonship and draws people to Christ and draws the Christ out of the people in order to be expressed.
As T. Austin-Sparks said, “Am I going to work in order to establish some society, some denomination, to win a place for teaching, or an interpretation, or a system of truth? Is it to some THING that I am devoted, or is it to secure for the Lord Jesus His absolute centrality and supremacy? Whatever we may say, we shall never get past that, we begin and end there. Christ is the beginning and Christ is the end, the A to Z, the Alpha and Omega.”
Here’s the bottom line. Vision casters are orphans. They set out to do what they think that God wants them to do and they strive to gain God’s attention and acceptance by their performance. Casters work from an Old Testament paradigm and use Old Testament scriptures, “without vision the people perish” / “write the vision and make it plain”, and strive under an Old Testament burden of the flesh to accomplish THINGS for God. (Click here to understand why/how those scripture texts are mishandled by Casters.)
Harsh? Perhaps. But, remember, I used to be one and truth is seldom palatable. I had to swallow a big healthy portion long before writing this post. God is NOT interested in Vision Casters “winning the world for Jesus” nor is He concerned about their “legacy”. He would rather win all of their being and have them accurately bear His name as sons.
Beyond that, vision casting establishes a facade before the eyes of well meaning believers who by default nature correlate the THING they are connected to as being what represents God. Whether it is the golden calf being fashioned during Moses’ absence, Judaizers attempting to get believers to to abide by the law or Casters corralling and kettling saints to serve God by serving the vision, such religious hocus pocus produces a debilitating effect in the life of a believer, drastically hinders Christ from being formed in them and can cause “carnage” to ensue.
Irrespective of being Caster or Castee, Father wants His children free. That is why He sent Jesus in the Spirit of Sonship, put the old religious order down and bestowed upon us such an incredible love that allows us to be called the sons of God. And, as The Message shares the words of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
The hour is critical. Father’s vision is the only one that matters. His Ways in accomplishing His purposes are the only ones that will prove productive. And Christ is the Vision and the Way.
So, if you like this post, you can let me know. I’d appreciate it. If you have problems with it, email Crosby because his words inspired it. 😃
Keep your peace! Related Post: BEWARE the Vision Bus!