The movement that we are a part of was founded on the principle of hearing and responding to God’s voice. This is in part the reason that we have spread so broadly across the earth and been involved in such a wide range of kingdom work. But have we somehow put too much emphasis on the need for every individual to receive and pursue at all costs his or her personal vision? Is personal vision too sacred to challenge?
Over the years I have seen many who have a passion and a heart to do something that they feel God has called them to do. Some handle this better than others. Some give this vision precedence in their lives before anything else and often head out on their own as ‘mavericks’ destroying relationships as they do so. When they ‘arrive’ many quickly become disillusioned and discover that to their surprise they are alone. Which brings us to the key question – if everyone goes off on their own to pursue their personal vision then who is going to be there to help them?
During my training in YWAM I was presented with an idea that I haven’t much heard being circled in the majority of our movement. That idea is that we should seek to serve to come alongside a leader and enter into a relationship with them, with a desire to serve the vision and calling God has placed on their lives and then through that God would release us into the vision and calling he has for us. You could argue that this was just made up by a leader who was frustrated about not having enough help but I think there is Biblical precedent for it.
Kris Valloton poses an important question in the talk “Finding Your Destiny”. Are we merely called to DO something? Or are we called to BE with specific people and walk with them together in relationship and community? As Ruth committed to remaining with Naomi and as Silas walked with Paul. Maybe instead of simply wanting to give us a task to do God wants to give us specific people to walk along with in this journey of life. Perhaps we are not only called to tasks, but to people. And maybe our most important calling is as the family of God.
Banning Liebscher of Jesus Culture says we should ‘Be SENT not WENT’. Many who put such a strong emphasis on their personal vision aren’t willing to wait to be sent. They may just get up and go without allowing time to be a part of a community that hears from God together and decides to send them. I believe that God speaks through the context of community. And any decision made outside of or apart from the wisdom that the body of Christ provides is potentially unsafe. We see this play out as the Apostles were commissioned and SENT out from the church in Antioch. (Acts 6:5)
Of course there is another extreme to this as well. There are overbearing and controlling leaders who aren’t willing to release and send staff that they so heavily rely on. There are also leaders who are simply unaware or inattentive to the ways in which God is clearly leading an individual on to something else. And I am not proposing that a single leader should be the one who becomes the determiner of whether an individual has ‘correctly’ heard from God or not. I am saying that people are important. Community is important. God has brought these other people into our lives for a reason. We should be willing to pursue and discern the will of God together as a group of individuals committed to His Kingdom work.
I believe when we discover the balance between these two extremes we will see a new wave of fruitful pioneering movements released. That is what we all desire! We will see staff committed to being a part of something bigger than themselves and we will see leaders not reluctantly ‘releasing’ individuals, but empowering and walking with them into their God-given destiny. Because vision is sacred, but so is community.