There’s nothing magical about a new year. Perhaps one of the greatest reasons most New Year’s resolutions fail is that so many people assume a new year means a new you. Nothing could be further from the truth. On January 1 you’re living in the same sin-soaked flesh you indwelt on December 31. But that doesn’t mean it’s not wise or appropriate to reflect on the year gone by and reassess your priorities and refocus for the year to come.
That’s why as a pastor I’ve generally taken the first Sunday of the year (weather permitting) to preach a special sermon outlining a vision for the church. Although I firmly believe the church’s primary sermonic diet should verse-by-verse preaching through books of the Bible, its wise for pastors to preach a vision sermon at strategic times in church life. One such time is at the beginning of a new year. Since the primary means God uses to bring about change in the life of the church is the faithful preaching of the Word of God, it seems appropriate to strategically preach sermons that help set a course for Christ-honoring change.
That said, preachers should take great care to ensure a vision sermon is deeply rooted in Scripture. A vision sermon shouldn’t major on extra-biblical themes, but should call Christ’s church towards greater obedience to Christ’s Word. For example, it would be a stretch to preach a sermon on “Why We Should Build a New Building” or “Four Reasons to Hire a New Staff Person.” These discussions may be necessary in the life of your church, but they’re better suited for a Members’ Meeting, not injected into the Sunday morning sermon.
My first sermon at Poquoson Baptist Church was a vision sermon from Matthew 28:18-20. I shared with the church my vision that we be a disciple-making church, a church that shepherded sinners from lost to leader.
On January 1, 2017 I preached a vision sermon for PBC from 1 Peter 4:8 on our need to love one another.
This Sunday I’ll be preaching a vision sermon from 2 Timothy 2:1-7. I hope you’ll come excited and expectant for God to move in us and through us for His glory.
© M. Hopson Boutot, 2018