An Apostolic Vision
By Kenneth Haney
“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
In the beginning God had a vision for His church. It was a positive vision. When the church was established, the new believers were one in doctrine, one in holiness, and one in Spirit. (See Acts 2.) They were bound by a common cause: fulfilling the great commission. The enemy worked—even as he does now—fragmenting the body, bringing division, introducing false doctrines, and destroying holiness. Satan’s plan has been to prevent the church from remaining unified. He is the author of division, which will surely erode vision. He works at causing schisms in the body of Christ.
Most people have visions or pictures in their minds, but what is the vision God wants us to have? Vision is an image of the future, something forthcoming.
What affects our vision? Our environment, what we read, what we see, what we hear, the people with whom we associate, the time we choose to spend talking to the Lord—all these things affect our vision. Vision needs to be “caught” from the spirit of the early church and not by comparing ourselves with each other. Comparing ourselves among ourselves is one of the greatest downfalls of our time. In so doing, we not only do not do well (II Corinthians 10:12), but we also inhibit the Word of God from going forward.
In many cases we have limited God and tied His hands by speaking negative thoughts and talking more about those who have fallen from the faith rather than about what God will do about the harvest in the end time. Our minds can become so cluttered by the environment of our times that all we can see is the deterioration, judgment, and annihilation of the human race. We must be careful not to miss the purpose of the existence of these circumstances. Current events have been permitted by God so that the church can do its greatest work in this final hour.
Each pastor will choose his or her vision. It is the will of God to send great revival through the medium of His church. The local church is where the revival must start if the world is to be touched. The vision must be greater than the negative voices around us. The local church is the key to revival, and the pastor is the key to the local church.
There is little hope of reviving some congregations unless the ministers are first revived. The pastor plays a crucial role in hindering or facilitating revival. In Revelation 2 and 3, most of the seven letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor are revival messages to the individual churches, but when God wanted to talk to these churches, He first talked to the minister, the “angel” (messenger) of the church. As it was then, so it is now: if the pastor gets the message, the church will get it also. Every pastor must first catch the vision, and then ask God for an anointing to reach his congregation and to infuse them with a fire of passion to reach every soul by whatever method they can use to impart the truth!
When I was serving as a pastor, as each New Year approached, I would seek God and ask Him for a vision for that year. He would put the vision into my heart. Often I found His will for the people burning in my spirit. Of course, I would write it all down, prepare banners, sometimes Power-Point slides, and often print brochures or booklets laying out the vision. On the first Sunday of the New Year, we would present the vision. It often became the most exciting service of the year. I would ask the Lord to anoint me like never before so that the people would indeed catch the vision, for without them we could not succeed. During the message we would worship, pray, and sometimes shout as the children of Israel did as they marched around the walls of Jericho. It was truly an exciting thing, but more importantly, I knew the people had to buy into the vision in order for it to succeed.
The United Pentecostal Church International was birthed for this hour. We are to carry this message to the world! We must catch the vision and fulfill God’s plan for this hour. Pastor, you have been placed in your city by God. You are not an accident. Do whatever it takes to reach every community in the city. Think outside of the box. Most people will not come into your church. You must go to them. Send buses into their neighborhoods. Teach them Bible studies. Rent one-room offices or storefronts in which to meet with them. Organize small groups to meet in multiple locations. Fast, pray, receive God’s vision and plan.
Jesus spent His entire ministry casting His vision for the world and for His church. After His death, resurrection, and ascension, that vision was launched on the Day of Pentecost. That vision was an obsession for His followers, and they were empowered by the Spirit. They did not just have the Holy Ghost; the Holy Ghost had them, and they were driven by the vision. They could see a conquered world, and there was no foe that could defeat them. They suffered, were beaten, incarcerated, and martyred, but they kept subduing kingdoms and conquering cities. All the apostles except John were martyred, but that did not stop the church. They were driven by the power of Christ’s vision and were equipped with passion to spread His gospel.
To be truly apostolic, we too must embrace a radical vision for revival.
From, “Forward Magazine”/November-December 2008/Volume 39, Issue 6/Page 5 & 22, by Kenneth Haney
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