by Dr. Ronnie Floyd
My first pastorate was in a town of 300 people. It was a very special church. Each Sunday I would go to lunch at a different member’s home. We will never forget those days. It was a great place for me to learn.
One of the greatest lessons about vision I learned in the simplest manner while I was at that church. Some of the church’s leadership determined we needed to air condition the building. This led to a business meeting. We were discussing the situation as the ping-pong match began. One of the men felt strongly we did not need to do it because “times were hard.” A godly woman in the church had heard about all she wanted to hear. She stood up and said to them, “God will take care of this. Let’s help the church move forward to the future for our younger families.” In her passionate speech and plea, she nailed the hard times issue by telling them she would give the first $1,000. Needless to say, within minutes the whole issue was solved. The church was getting its own central heat and air unit.
In the middle of the match, I had resolved that the deal was over and the man had won again. However, I learned that night I was not thinking big enough! I had forgotten the power of vision and how people love to rally to a better future. The lady had called people to a better future, even demonstrating sacrifice toward it.
What God etched in my heart that night I will never forget. A godly lady had a vision and was not going to let anyone torpedo it. She painted a vision, and people ran toward it.
The Lord has used the lessons I learned that night and built upon them church by church and situation by situation. God wanted to build me into a man of vision and faith.
When I came to my present church in 1986 and preached for the church to vote on me becoming their pastor, I was grilled with questions for a long time. That night, I began to cast a vision in many areas.
I remember saying to them, “Surely He wants to use our church to place Jesus and His gospel all over the world from Northwest Arkansas.” That was a strong statement of vision and faith. On that night, I rallied people to a better future.
Through the years, I felt there was no way that would happen, but I continued on in the vision. With the limited population in this region, I lost my vision and faith periodically. Sometimes I would believe we had peaked and there was no way for growth to continue. Yet it continued to happen. Every time I felt the lid was on, God would blow the lid off the church. I was not thinking big enough! Each time I would look back and say to myself, “I should have known God better than that.” Each time, vision and faith were contributing factors. Each time, people were rallying to a better future for their lives and our church.
Vision is rallying people to a better future. Vision is helping people see what you see already. Vision is calling the invisible into visibility. Vision is usually determined by your burden and by your faith.
This is an adapted excerpt from book, 10 Things Every Minister Needs to Know.
Dr. Ronnie Floyd is the Senior Pastor of Cross Church, immediate past President of the Southern Baptist Convention, and founder of the Cross Church School of Ministry.