I wrote this in 2009 still true.
Len Sweet once said, 'the most at risk
leadership skill is inspired imagination.'
Inspired imagination begins with the end in mind. Thinking 'What would our community, church look like if?'
In the early days of serving the city of Cincinnati, Cincy Vineyard leaders often dreamed with inspired imagination. What would it look like if we served cold drinks to drivers stuck in long lines on a hot day? What would it look like if we delivered turkey dinners to the less-served of our community the weekend before thanksgiving? What would it look like if we create a place where the less-served could receive practical care?
Their dreaming provoked action.
Their inspired imagination continues to this day. Their creative spark is spreading the good news, demonstrated in practical ways, all over their city and into the world.
Paul spoke about 'people being of one mind, being of one heart, of one spirit, intent on one purpose.'
True community is formed when people choose to live life on mission, and begin to actively give themselves to pursue their vision...together.
Community is living life forward, moving toward a common purpose.
Philippians 2 Message. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.
If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor:
Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.
Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top.
Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.
Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage.
Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.
He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all.
When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human.
It was an incredibly humbling process.
He didn’t claim special privileges.
Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.
Perhaps, it's seeking to fulfill the Great Commission...together.
Perhaps, it is a group of friends who are consistently thinking, 'How can we help people within our sphere of influence take their next step toward Jesus Christ?'
We don't know much about them. They were friends. Four of them were healthy, one wasn't.
He was bed ridden, needed healing.
Five friends heard about Jesus.
They heard he was healing the sick, performing miracles, and He was teaching how to live life within the Kingdom of God.
We don't know how far they had to carry their friend, we just know that they were intent, focused on one purpose... to bring their friend to Jesus no matter the cost.
Five friends decided to move toward Jesus... together.
Someone had to find the directions to the house.
Someone had the foresight to bring ropes... just in case.
When they arrived they noticed the crowd was huge. Many people were pressing in to hear the words of Jesus. At some point they realized they couldn't gain access.
They formed a new plan. The roof.
They pressed through the crowd and found a way to the roof. Determined, they parted the roof, tied ropes to their fiends mat and cautiously lowered him to the floor.
Their friend was healed.
The walk home was probably pretty exciting.
The principle: True community is formed when people are determined to move toward their common purpose... together... envisioned, on mission.