We have the vision,
now let's get ready

The wise writer of Proverbs 29:18 says in the King James Version, "Where there is no vision, the people perish, but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."

The American Standard Version says it this way: "Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; But he that keepeth the law, happy is he."

I like the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases this verse in The Message: "If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; but when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed."

Peterson suggests that when a vision is not present, people are unable to see what's right in front of them. Peterson is not suggesting that any vision will do. On the contrary, his interpretation of this scripture seems to mean that we must see what God is doing, and that will become The Vision.

At Annual Conference 2006, we were presented a vision statement that originally began as a work of God among us in the fall of 2004. It was given new insight by the 2005 Annual Conference and reflected upon by a vision writing team over the past year. Our members of the 2006 Annual Conference voted overwhelmingly to adopt this vision statement:

God envisions bold, passionate, and joyful communities of faith where the spiritual hunger to worship God and to serve Christ sets disciples on fire with Spirit-filled, risk- taking love for all God's children until Holston Conference reflects the saving grace and redeeming justice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are key words that jump out at me as I read this. They are bold, passionate, joyful, spiritual hunger, worship, fire, Spirit-filled, risk-taking love, saving grace, and redeeming justice. These words leap off the page because they elicit responses - and are not mere lip service.

This year, the Connectional Table will develop action steps to give hands, feet, pumping heart energy, sweat, song, laughter, and a sense of meaning and contribution to the people of Holston who dare to see more in the future than in their past. In every community, we must challenge ourselves to look with piercing eyes and to see what God is doing so that we may move in harmony with God - no longer stumbling over ourselves. Bishop T.D. Jakes, a great preacher, was known for saying, "Get ready, get, get, get ready."

Well, Holston, let's get ready, get set, and let's go follow The Vision..


Bishop James Swanson
Resident Bishop

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