Shepherd’s Care: Vision (1)

We have come to the final category we’re using to explore the vocation of ordained/professional ministry.

We spoke of the “ingredients” for vocational ministry:  values, call, and mission.

We then moved on to look at the “integrity” for vocational ministry:  virtue, character, and morality.

Now, we begin an examination of the “inspiration” for vocational ministry: vision, commitment, and ministry.  We will not hurry through this final segment, but even a slower pace will not do service to the theme.

We begin with vision.

We often find Proverbs 29:18 cited when the notion of vision is brought up.  It is useful in showing the consequences of not having a vision, but I have come to view it as a very limited way of espousing vision from a biblical perspective.

The better way is by looking at the major biblical figures who were inspired and guided by an ongoing sense of vision, not just a “verse” to inspire it.  In both the Old and New Testaments, we find men and women who staked their future and ordered their lives on their sense of vision.

Consequently, when we speak of vision, we are speaking of more than a moment of inspiration; we are talking about a conviction that alters us completely—inside and out.  A vision is a sense of “for this I was made”—-“to this I must give my life.”  It is the flame that ignites our ministry and the foundation that enables it to stand against winds of opposition and change.

Vision, however, is not a free-standing element.  It is something that comes to us through some (or all) of the qualities we’ve been looking at.  The ingredients of vocation and the integrity of vocation are active in helping God provide us with a sense of vision.

But however it happens, ordained/professional vision must find expression in us in relation to vision.  We’ll spend some additional time talking about this in more specific ways.



About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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