- March 15, 2017
- By Karl Fickling
Captured by Vision: 101 Insights to Empower Your Congregation
By George Bullard (WestBow Press)
“Vision is a movement of God that is memorable rather than a statement of humankind that is memorized.”
With those words, George Bullard states the first of 101 points to guide churches to find “God’s empowering vision.” Each “insight” stands alone as a powerful idea. Together, they produce a clear process for churches wanting to discover—or rediscover—their vision.
Bullard demonstrates clearly why a pastor alone cannot dictate a church’s unifying direction in following God’s call. Instead, visioning requires a movement in the church body. Bullard’s insights connect to the Bible, to sound leadership principles, to relational issues and to practical matters. He lays out a clear strategy for how a church can walk together through the season of discernment, commit to new direction and launch a new future.
“Vision is not the pastor pushing the congregation forward. It is allowing the congregation to be pulled forward by God.”
The challenges of pursuing God’s empowering vision are considered, too. A church can be too small, or too old and set in their ways, or unable to get 21 percent—Bullard’s minimum—of a core group on board with the process.
Bullard warns visioning is not a one-time phenomenon. It takes considerable patience to walk through a thorough process. Sometimes, vision must wait until other things are cared for. Sometimes, it must be broken up into pieces that are separated by time. In addition, progress must be celebrated constantly, and progress must be meaningful, or it will be lost.
The biggest challenge, however, is growing a church into an envisioning culture by repeating this process every seven years.
“Negative urgency is for the congregations who want to fix what is wrong with them. Positive urgency is for congregations who desire to soar with faith into a future toward which God is pulling them.”
Captured by Vision is a book to be read quickly, then reread slowly and deliberately, and then studied together by a whole church, or at least that 21 percent of key members.
It is the single best book I have read on helping churches discover their vision.
Karl Fickling, Interim Church Services coordinator
Baptist General Convention of Texas