A young Lee Trevino had a vision. It came watching Sam Snead curve a golf shot high and far to within a few feet of a hidden pin. Trevino had seen what golf could be and set himself the goal of being that golfer. Three decades later it is on the record how able a player Trevino became. Now it is a string of major championships that testify to the power of a vision in one man’s life.
Through vision God creates. It unveils what is possible. The Bible closes with a vision. The book of Revelation unveils the conquest of the Lamb. His victory on the cross has given to Him the command of history. Scripture concludes by launching the church on it’s mission with a vision of what it will be and do in connection with Christ.
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision the people perish.” An alternative translation reads, “Where there is no prophecy the people cast off all restraint.” To flourish in our faith we need to hear a word from God. We need to know His will. The Bible reveals the will of God for all believers for all time. As a local congregation of God’s people we ask, “What will you have us to do?” What follows is a vision statement for the Byfield Parish Church. This vision statement comes from the study we have made of the Lord’s work among us and is offered to those who worship and serve at Byfield Parish to guide and direct our steps as a church of Jesus Christ. The vision is the result of prayer, study, and collaboration. The vision is meant to help us keep on course as we seek to serve the Lord faithfully on into the next century.
To take Christ to the World,
To nurture, equip, and mature God’s people
and to live to the glory of God.
Our Lord Jesus Christ’s “Great Commission” of Matthew 28 is the backbone of both our Mission Statement and our Vision. It reads in part – “therefore go and make disciples of all nations … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you …”
Note: all Scripture quotations are from the N.I.V., except as noted.
“TO TAKE CHRIST TO THE WORLD…”
We envision a concerted, consistent witnessing to the saving work of Jesus Christ in each believer’s life. This telling of the Good News is to be shared with all who will listen: family, neighbors, seekers, friends, fellow-workers. We envision those with the Spiritual Gift of “Evangelist” ministering with unique and supernatural ability to proclaim and present the Gospel, in public as well as private settings. We see the church providing training classes in “life-style evangelism,” and—as needed—”pulpit evangelism.” The church would offer activities, programs, concerts and cantatas, outings, sports events, discovery classes, small groups etc. in non-threatening settings to which the unbelievers would be invited. Such activities should be deliberately structured to attract the unchurched and the seeker, and should provide opportunities for Christian witness.
Further, we envision including a great number of our youth in short-term mission projects, and both young and retired adults in long-term missionary service. Also we anticipate the church extending the reach and effectiveness of those missions and missionaries to whom we already lend support; as well as supporting more missionary endeavors through enlarging the church’s missionary budget.
“NURTURE, EQUIP, and MATURE GOD’S PEOPLE…”
1 Peter 5:2 NKJV “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you…” This will involve various preaching, teaching, discipling, and mentoring ministries of Byfield Parish Church.
“Nurture God’s People”
We see nurturing as feeding, guiding, guarding the flock of God. As God leads and enables, we shall provide spiritual food (nourishment) consisting of the Word of God—the entire counsel of God—milk for the newborn, solid meat for those growing into maturity. All preaching and teaching of the Word will need monitoring to provide a balanced, complete spiritual diet. This calls for guarding the church from false doctrine and false teachers.. I Tim 4:16 NKJV “take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” We envision instilling in one another a love of God, of prayer, of Holy Scripture and of fellowship with the saints. Sunday School for all ages, VBS, formal and informal Bible studies must be maintained, while personal devotions and private study of Scripture should be stressed and encouraged. Mentoring of the younger by the more mature would offer great value in the area of nurture.
“Equip God’s People”
Eph. 4:12 “… to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the Body of Christ may be built up…”
Equipping the saints shall be a high priority and should focus on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These God-given supernatural abilities are spiritual tools of ministry or service for Christ and His kingdom. Among spiritual gifts the Bible includes encouragement, giving, helps, discernment, creative ability, preaching, teaching, mercy, and administration. Their use is to be coupled with love and used both to glorify God and to edify His people.
We envision spiritual gifts classes being taught to all, especially to new members of the church. Also, we see a follow-up placement service available for all who wish to employ their spiritual gifts in ministries, both within the church and within the local communities. WE ENVISION A CHURCH FULL OF MINISTERS.
“Mature God’s People”
Like nurturing and equipping, the maturing of believers involves discipling and Matthew 28 associates discipling with “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” Accordingly, one mark of the mature Christian is obedience.
Scripture teaches that justification is a once-for-all declaration of Christ’s imputed (imparted) righteousness in the heart of the believer. Sanctification is the process wherein—having been declared righteous—God now makes us righteous. Eph. 4:13 speaks of becoming “mature, attaining the full measure of perfection found in Christ.”
Within our vision we should seek to exhort and to impress upon one another the importance of personal cooperation with the Holy Spirit in His work of sanctification. Classes dealing with sanctification will be needed, and again, mentoring by mature believers would be encouraged, to stimulate growth to maturity. We should seek in preaching and teaching, on all levels, to correct, instruct, rebuke, exhort and encourage all believers in personal holiness. Christians as they mature, should evidence fruit of the Spirit and lives increasingly transformed into the image of Christ. 2 Peter 3:18 “…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” All should be thoroughly taught and should practice the priesthood of all believers.
“AND LIVE TO THE GLORY OF GOD.”
Recognized for centuries as “the chief end of man,” glorifying God and enjoying Him forever must be the primary purpose and goal of every child of God. In this regard our vision emphasizes worship and praise, prayer and spiritual songs, both private and corporate. These should be taught and promoted as central to every Christian’s life. Faithful and frequent teaching of the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ, as well as the imperative of total commitment and obedience to His holy will cannot be overemphasized.
In Matthew 25:40 we read, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Accordingly, we should seek ways to minister to God by ministering to others. We see mentoring, discipling, preaching and teaching being maximized to encourage and help one another “to live to the glory of God.” As Paul wrote to Timothy, I Tim. 4:12 “…set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” Finally, we envision an entire congregation living the Word, walking with God, sharing the work and impacting the world.