Vision of a Dream

Some people call me a dreamer, and while I enjoy a good dream as well as anybody, I respectfully disagree. I don’t only have a dream, I have a vision, and the difference between the two is substantial. 

Dreams are things we hope will happen. Vision happens.

Dreams open the doors of hope to the realm of possibility. Vision pursues, courts, and proposes to possibility, and then sets up a home and makes lots of babies.

Dreams distract us from the problems of today. Vision focuses on finding solutions.

Dreams are where vision starts. Vision is how dreams become reality.

A dream is something you long for, talk about, and hope will happen someday. A vision is something that keeps you up at night that demands a plan and action to follow.

A vision is a dream that has grown up, climbed out of the safety of the nest, and has started to fly on it’s own.

The world needs dreamers who aren’t afraid to dream big dreams. It also needs people of vision who aren’t content to simply dream.

The problem with dreams is that they often remain dreams. They seem so big that they will forever remain relegated to the realm of fantasy. Some people can’t see the forest through the seed.

That’s what vision does though. It helps us not only see what can be, it drives us to figure out what it takes to bring that vision to reality, and then to actually do something to follow that plan.

I don’t have huge dreams, I just want to change the world. I think the way you do that is to tackle the things you have the power to effect. For me, understanding what that means is tied to my calling as a pastor. (you can read more about calling here.) 

Way back in 2001 I had the opportunity to go to a Purpose Driven Church conference at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. While I was there, I discovered a program they have there called Celebrate Recovery (CR). It was all about helping people find victory over their hurts, habits, and hang ups. At that time I was a youth pastor, and wasn’t in a position to launch a program of that magnitude, but a seed was planted and I had no idea how it would grow.

In 2007 I moved back home with the ink from my Master’s of Counseling degree still drying on the parchment. I started to practice here in my home town and I found myself working with teenagers, adults, marriages, and with all ages of people. People who’s lives had been devastated by addiction and abuse. While I wasn’t in a church, I was certainly doing ministry, and the sprout of that CR seed started to grow in my mind. 

I love our little town, and I hated what the patterns of addiction and abuse were doing to us. I could see how it was holding us back. What could I do but pray? Well, it turns out that prayer is pretty powerful, it causes things to happen that we often can’t predict. One of those things was the birth of LifePoint Church.

While that is another story for another day, when we finally launched our church we had several things in mind that we believe God is calling us to pursue. We want to see the end of divorce, to see people overcome poverty, to break the cycles of addiction and abuse, and for people to find the freedom, joy, and hope that we have found in Jesus. That’s a lot, generations of work, but one of the places I knew we had to start was to plant that little sapling of CR.

No one will tell you that a new church’s first pastoral staff hire should be a CR guy. You should hire your skinny jean wearing worship leader, or a kids pastor to make all those young families comfortable. Those are great hires, they are important, bedrock ministries of the church. You need them if you want to grow at all, but our little town has a drug problem, and all the problems that come with it, and we knew God was calling us to do something about it.

So in 2011 we officially started the CR program here at LifePoint and hired our first staff pastor other than myself. When we started the program, it was 3 people on our CR leadership team and Sharon. That’s it. A 3 to 1 ratio is awesome if you want to keep kids in control, but for a ministry that has a goal as audacious as transforming a community, we were hoping for more. It wasn’t just one week like that, it was several weeks strung together, but little by little our little plant grew.

Fast forward 6 years and we have had hundreds of people who have come and completed the program, overcome many challenges, and have indeed had their lives changed. We even have helped launch other CR programs in other churches, expanding influence beyond our city. Do we still have a drug problem in Laclede County? Yep, but we are working diligently to let people know that there is hope, that things can change, and that Life has more to offer. 

We have more than 3 volunteer leaders now too. These are people who have overcame much, and are dedicated to helping others find victory too. They have discovered that there is nothing like ringside seats to life change. The seed of hope has transformed them in to trees that testify to the power of God to bring us through, over, and alongside any difficulty, past hurt, or situation that has kept us down in the past. 

Those trees are becoming my mighty oaks. Their branches are providing shelter for the saplings under their care. They have caught the vision, and through them, God is changing people's lives. CR is just part of the forest God is growing in our church as we continue to pursue the vision God has given us.

These are just some of the volunteer leaders who make a daily difference through servicing in CR.
When we started LifePoint I was told several times that the last thing our community needed was another church. I agree, but what every community needs is people who are wiling to dream dreams that then turn into visions. The world needs more people to allow God to birth vision into their lives that they are willing to give everything to pursue. That is what dreams and vision work together to do. 

Your dream should be so strong that it inspires you to wake up and take action. We aren’t done dreaming, clarifying and pursuing our vision here at LifePoint. I refuse to be. Instead I am looking to pass it on because any good dream is bigger than the dreamer. Vision is impossible to see accomplished if we fail to bring others along, and as we do, we get further down the road. 

What dreams do you have? What steps do you need to take to make that vision become a reality? If you feel stuck in that process, I would love to help.

I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.
-Joel 2:28


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