Sunday, June 24, 2012

"vision is the destroyer of essence....essence of church is not its mission"

Gordon Cosby has often been quoted  as saying "vision is the destroyer of essence'
(I hear he even taught a  seminar for megachurch pastors by that title).
I don't find any written example of that quote in context, bit  I did find this below on Frank's blog (no source given, but googling suggests it's from a sermon preached on July 7th, 1996, and quoted in “The Church of the Saviour: A Radical Experiment” by Peter Renne)

…The essence of church is not its mission. [The “vision statement” is not what its about.] It’s not a matter of a group, battling homelessness, or working with at-risk children or people who don’t have jobs or people who are addicted or working with issues of justice or peace…the soul of the church is a gathered people whose only reason for gathering is Jesus. The church is a people who gather because they want to know Jesus in a deeper way. The focus must not be on the vision first but on the relationship with the one who gives the vision. The vision will not ultimately sustain us, but the one who gives the vision will…”

We will commit ourselves to an intensive love effort with a few people. We will be committed to smallness. Large numbers tend almost inevitably toward depersonalization and institutionalism, toward a lessening of commitment. So we resist the temptation of numbers and the power that comes through numbers.

The central reality of Church is a group of people, core people, called to be in deepening personal belonging of friendship with Jesus of Nazareth and through him to others.  link

1 comment:

  1. “We are not called primarily to create new structures for the church in this age; we are not called primarily to a program of service, or to dream dreams or have visions. We are called first of all to belong to [worship] .. to belong to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and to keep our lives warmed at the hearth of his life. It is there the fire will be lit which will create new structures and programs of service that will draw others into the circle to dream dreams and have visions.

    “To understand this is to be thrown back upon those disciplines which are the only known gateways to the grace of God; for how do we fulfill the command to love, except that we learn love from God, and how do we learn from God, except that we pray, and live under His word and perceive His world?”
    Elizabeth O’Connor, Call to Commitment (1963) 52, 94


Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!