Jesus only needed a few words to communicate His vision to His team: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 NIV).
In that vision, Jesus promised them divine power coming from the indwelling Holy Spirit—the omnipotent third person of the trinity. He established their identity and tied it to their mission–be witnesses. Finally, He cast a vision for global impact starting at home but rapidly expanding to the ends of the earth.
Jesus’ vision for His team called forth every fiber of their being through an urgent appeal to reach every man, woman, and child on the planet with the beauty of the Gospel. Who would not be inspired to give their life to this vision? And they were! First, they witnessed in the heart of Judaism on the very steps of the Temple. Thousands received their message and were baptized there. Then they spread out and began to take the message to the surrounding areas. In their lifetime, the Gospel spread to Europe on the West and India on the East. New disciples were baptized and churches were planted in the cities of the empire.
How could 120 people accomplish so much in their lifetime? It was clearly a work of the Holy Spirit moving in common people inspired by a vision worth the Kingdom of God. Global vision inspires heroic effort. Unfortunately, today most disciples are given something less compelling.
The average pastor and church planter (I know because I have been both), gives their team a vision for a great church. We say, “Join me and help me build a church with—the best theology, the best understanding of the Gospel, the best worship experience, the best…(you fill in the blank with your last vision talk). “We will be better than those who’ve gone before us and those around us.” The average church member hears this and thinks, I like you, pastor, and I want to help you build your church. I can give you two hours this week to work in the nursery. No wonder the church is losing ground in the United States. A pastor’s personal vision for the success of his church inspires a casual investment from his people.
What would happen if all the pastors/planters in a city came together and told their people they had a strategy to reach the whole city with the Gospel? Would the people in your church be motivated to do their part if they believed their pastor was in passionate pursuit of a vision as big as the Kingdom of God?