"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
This ‘Vision’ speaks to the instruction in God’s truth which was by prophets through visions ( 1 Sam. 3:1). They were God’s representatives.
Where there is no instruction in God’s word, the people perish. There’s no hope for them. Without vision (instruction of God’s word), there is no restraining of the people and the people at large cannot be controlled (in a local church). There is chaos and people running wild, doing as they please. There is confusion, disorder and rebellion. Eventually, the people will fall into egregious sin. We see classic examples of this in the Old Testament when there were bad kings ruling over the people. Israel went about sinning, and committing all manner of ills against their own brethren.
Some churches give feel good messages, but not good instruction from God’s word. Some preach their own sermon while others, tell the people what they want to hear.
Some leaders today, equate ‘Vision’, mainly, with the ability to see all the possibilities of a ministry and plan in advance for what future needs might suggest. So they set up all the activities and ministry persons to help in carrying forth that ‘Vision’.
Vision is more than putting activities and ministry groups in place i.e. :
1. Singles ministry
2. Men’s ministry
3. Single parenting ministry
4. Music ministry
5. Widows ministry
6. Sick and shut in ministry
7. Homeless ministry
8. Leadership ministry
These are definitely good areas to hone in on, but if the ‘Instruction’ or teaching from the word of God is not the foundation or basis for the people in attendance, the people will perish. All of these ministry areas will suffer loss and eventually disappear. They will fizzle out. They will ultimately die.
We cannot take this verse out of its context, and run with our ideas on ‘Vision’, and build from there. There must be a biblical understanding from God’s word which will instruct leaders on all the things that are needed for God's people. If they adhere to His instructions, they (the leaders), will have a good sense as to what ministry areas are needed for their particular local and for all the people God has sent there.
When God gives wisdom and discernment to leaders concerning ministry areas in the church, there will always be a need for adjustments and changes, over time, because of the changing needs that become apparent in the community, or within the church itself, but these changes should never go against God’s word or HIs instructions.
It is important for the local church to not become an activity center, but a gathering place that is strong in ‘Instruction’ from God’s word with opportunities provided for the entire body of Christ to participate in, without exclusion, to function in their gifted areas.
Strong instruction (Vision) from God’s word, is what will bring fruit and provide good food for the spiritual growth of the believers in attendance.
In these times of spiritual dearth, decline and declension, many gatherings have been reduced to smaller numbers. This is nothing to be greatly concerned about. The mega church's numbers fluctuate as well. It’s a sign of the times. The present culture at large, and the work of the enemy on the souls of people, is having its affect upon local churches. But, God already gave us warning about these things in His word.
Those who are desirous to know God and His word will gravitate to the places that have 'Sound Teaching'. Those who want to be entertained with a plethora of activities will find those local churches that cater to their wants. Some will always be ‘Church Hoppers’, always looking for what they know not. The carnal will always experience leaness in their souls.
Having ‘Vision’ is more than a list of activities and ministry areas. It means having the solid instruction from God’s word on all matters pertaining to godly living. God can then give leaders the discernment that is needed for ministry areas that are conducive for their local gathering. The people will flourish and grow despite the times, and let’s not forget that there must always be the true Gospel preached at all times, and in different forms. This can definitely add to the local body of Christ.
Those who keep the law, or the instruction, from the mouth of those who represent God, will be happy!