The Bible says “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29.18) so it’s clear that we are to have a vision for ourselves, our walk with Jesus and for the Church. So what is our vision? My vision? Your vision?

Above all, we need to seek God’s vision for our lives and for our fellowship, to discover what is in His plan and to do our best to walk within that plan and purpose so that His will can be accomplished in us and in this place. We know that it is God’s plan and purpose that our lives reflect Jesus so that we may draw others to Him, to be a redeeming force for good where evil and darkness breed and to bring hope and reconciliation where there is despair or indifference. So we investigate new ways to spread the gospel, exploring what others have done (successfully or otherwise!) to bring those who do not know Him into the fellowship of believers where we meet in the hope that their lives will be transformed as ours have been by an encounter with the Living God.

All that is good and right and God’s will for His people but I believe that we sometimes underestimate what He is able to do if we really allow the power of the Holy Spirit to enter into our lives and flow out to those around us and that is where my own personal vision comes in. I long with all my heart to see the church transformed by that power, for each of us to really let go of our hang-ups, embarrassment, fear and misunderstanding and embrace all that the Holy Spirit wants to give to us. Do we really want all the gifts of the Spirit or just the comfortable ones? Yes, please, Lord we’d like healing but speaking in tongues is a bit weird and feels odd so perhaps we’ll pass on that one. The gift of faith would be great, we all need that, but we can manage quite well without prophecy or words of knowledge. And, of course, if we choose to read I Cor.13 in a certain way we can disregard all of the above and just major on love, what could be better? But everything that God wants to give us in His Spirit is good for He only gives good gifts and each one is intended to strengthen, encourage and build us up into a people of power and faith.

So that is my vision, to see the church fully equipped for the challenge of spreading the gospel in this unbelieving age, for us all to seek to be filled with His Spirit in a new and powerful way, exercising the gifts that He wants to give to us and not to limit ourselves as to what we want to receive. I would only add that I am not advocating a church where spiritual gifts are trotted out like party tricks to impress, for the Bible tells us to test the Spirit and to weigh any words of prophecy or knowledge. We should never speak out in God’s name lightly or carelessly but only after seeking the discernment of His Spirit but let us not be afraid to launch out in faith believing that He will use our faltering words if our intentions are right and we are humble in our desire to be used by the Spirit for the blessing of us all.


Jenny Shortman

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