Unified Vision

Any team with members who do not understand or support the vision regarding the purpose of the team is going to fail. If you are a soccer player, who is a forward, showing up in goalie gear, something is terribly wrong. Or, even worse, showing up in football pads and determined to score a touchdown!

It sounds crazy, but it happens all the time in churches and even their leadership teams. The pastor has a vision, the administrative pastor has his vision, and that doesn’t even include the music minister, Christian education pastor, or even the head usher.  Each with their own ideas of the direction for the church. It is the adage, “Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth” come to life.

Below are three simple guidelines to remember regarding a church’s vision:

  1. Pastors should communicate the vision God has burdened upon their heart clearly and work with leadership to set goals and map out the approach to accomplishing the vision.
  2. Church leadership should support the pastor’s vision and any disagreements handled privately. A church can be destroyed due to leadership inappropriately discussing their concerns with church laity.
  3. Church laity should labor with the pastor and leadership team to accomplish the vision. Questions, concerns, or disagreements with approach should be brought to leadership immediately. As with leaders, disgruntled laity discussing their concerns with one another and not the leadership will hinder the church’s vision.

Equipped for Victory Part 2

Previously, we looked at the necessity of prayer for the equipping of believers in the body of Christ. Today we are going to look at the actual equipment the believer has available to them. In Ephesians 6:14-17, the Apostle Paul details the spiritual equipment issued to every person who accepts Christ as Lord and Savior. This equipment is not optional. Its proper and consistent use is required for the believer and the church to walk in victory.

As believers, to have access to resources which can help us walk in spiritual victory and to not use them is foolishness.  Unfortunately, many of us hang our spiritual armor in the closet and leave it there to collect dust. We then struggle daily in our spiritual lives and wonder what has gone wrong. Calling upon God for assistance, when what we need has been in front of us all along.                                                                                                                                                                 

In this chapter, Paul lists six pieces of armor vital to the believer. Each of them is below and linked to a message specifically for it. I encourage you to take the time to listen and learn the importance they play in our spiritual lives.

  1. Belt of Truth (v.14)
  2. Breastplate of Righteousness (v.14)
  3. Feet Shod in Peace (v.15)
  4. Shield of Faith (v.16)
  5. Helmet of Salvation (v.17)
  6. Sword of the Spirit (v.17)

Equipped For Victory Part 1

Any athlete will tell you preparation is the key to success. Practice and hard work, along with properly maintained equipment, are the foundation for victory. Within the body of Christ, we each have a responsibility to prepare ourselves through earnest prayer (Ephesians 6:18) and to maintain and use our equipment, the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11).

Preparation: Earnest and Unceasing Prayer

Ephesians 6:18 – “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”

First, the Apostle Paul tells us to pray “always.” When I read this verse, I find myself asking, “How can anyone pray always?” I have a busy life. I have kids, a wife, full time job, and my pastoral responsibilities. Where does prayer fit in beyond a few minutes each morning and evening? As if knowing my doubts, Paul reiterates his exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 when he says, “Pray without ceasing.” To me, praying without ceasing means we are not to allow disobedience or rebelliousness to separate us from Him. This allows us the opportunity to call upon Him anywhere at any time. If we have sinned, we immediately ask for forgiveness. If we see someone hurting, we intercede on their behalf without hesitation. We are ready “always” to reach out to Him.


Working Together In Unity

As a child of God, you and I are part of the Kingdom of Heaven. Each of us has talents, passions, and wisdom to offer the Kingdom (Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:11, 12), but we must work together to be successful. For example, a team can have a player with phenomenal talent, but if the athlete does not function in unity with other members of the team, winning becomes a lot more difficult, if not impossible. Dr. Tony Evans writes, “One of the elements of God’s rule is His heart for oneness, also known as unity. Unity can be defined in its simplest of terms as oneness of purpose. It is working together in harmony toward a shared vision and goal.”

For believers to operate in unity and to remain in unity, there are three Biblical principles we must apply to our lives.

  1. We are commanded to live in unity with one another (Ephesians 4:3)
The Apostle Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 4:3, we are to strive in unity with one another. It is not optional, but a command to believers to “make every effort” to live and work in unity with one another.  Even if personalities clash, we always have common ground. We are saved by grace through the gift of Jesus Christ our Lord (John 3:16) and are tasked by Him to be His “witnesses” (Acts 1:8).


The Characteristics of the Victorious

Romans 8:37 – Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Have you ever played a team sport or perhaps are a fan of one?  I love football. I grew up watching football, my kids played football and I still watch football every week during the season whenever possible. If you played on a team or are a knowledgeable fan of a sport, you can quickly identify the characteristics or qualities necessary for a team to be successful.

  • They Have Unity
  • They Are Properly Equipped
  • They Have A Clear Vision
  • They Respect Their Coach
  • They Know How to Finish