Proverbs 29:18

September 15, 2019

It might surprise you that Henry Ford did not invent the automobile or the assembly line. What Ford did was take the ideas of others and build upon them, improve them, and expand them.

Ford’s ability to envision a future where the automobile took the place of the horse and buggy set him apart.  For that to happen, he made cars at a cost that the average wage earner could buy by introducing the Model-T assembly line in 1913.  The speed of automobile production increased by a factor of eight, and the world changed forever. (Ibid)

There are not many people in a generation whose vision fundamentally changes our lives and their ideas are not usually supported  right away.

By nature, visionary people live and think outside the box. They are ahead of the pack.  Because of that, in the beginning, their ideas, dreams, hopes, and plans seem like a fantasy.  If not fantasy, their views represent the kind of change that people are afraid to embrace.

We are comfortable with what we know, and most of us are afraid of change if we are satisfied with the present.

We prefer to stick to what we know. Most of us are not risk takers or dreamers.  Few of us are willing to risk changing the way we see the world or risk changing the way we live even if there is the promise that our world could be a better place to live.

Some say Elon Musk is the “Ford” of our generation.

I have not drunk the Musk cool-aid.   However, there seems to be little doubt that along with his odd ideas and miscues as a person, he is a visionary genius.  His vision isn’t just about transportation. He wants to “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

When you study how Musk is going about doing that, you see that he learned something from Ford.

Like Ford, Musk sees his factory as part of his vision. His factory enables his battery operated cars to be built at a revolutionary pace.

His vision includes a fully electric Tesla Semi that can go 0-60 mph with 80,000 pounds in just 20 seconds.  Fully electric, and with a 200 kWh battery pack, Musk says that it would be “economic suicide” for trucking companies to continue driving diesel trucks.

Elon Musk says that Tesla plans to “address all major segments” of the auto market.

In Musk’s vision, he sees a world where vehicles are fully autonomous, that is, completely self-driving, making our roads 10X safer than manual via massive fleet learning.

Just the other day on a California freeway, a motorist filmed a man driving a Tesla.  I say driving, but the man was completely asleep at the wheel and he didn’t even have his hands on the steering wheel.  He was filmed for several seconds before he woke up and placed his hands back on the steering wheel.

Will Elon Musk’s vision of driverless cars come true?  It’s coming true.  Whether we will have a world where our roads are safer or not, only time will tell.

Any future worth living for, sacrificing for, or even dying for, has always had someone willing to cast that vision and convince others to follow them to get it done.

One hundred years ago, a vision was cast in this church to build a new worship facility.

In 1919, people in Jefferson were beginning to drive a few of those Model-T Fords that had rolled off Ford’s assembly line. At that time, the streets of Jefferson were still dirt, and there were still a lot of people getting around town on horse and buggy.

1919 was the year that the Chicago White Sox Scandal-hit Major League Baseball.  That’s when eight members of that professional baseball team threw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money.

If major league ballplayers would intentionally lose a World Series for money, you know that money was not easy to come by in those days.

Here in Jefferson, a vision was cast to build a new worship facility.  Members of this church contributed to the construction of the building in any way they could. Some gave money, while others gave materials, and others gave their skills and personally worked on the building.

In 1921, the church obtained a five-year, $10,000 loan from the Home Mission Board. To pay off the loan, the Women’s Missionary Union conducted fundraising projects, including chicken stews, chicken mulls, oyster stews, rummage sales, and selling pansy plants for 50 cents a dozen.

Even with this, the church had a difficult time paying the $2000 per year repayment. There were no 15-year or 30-year loans in those days. Ladies and Gentlemen, this was a five-year note.  The pressure was on!

On August 21, 1921, the first meeting was held in the new building. The building had 18 rooms at a total of $60,000.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index, $100 in 1921 has the purchasing power of about $1,433 today.  In today’s currency, the building cost about $860,000 to build, and as I mentioned, they five years to pay it off in a day when cash was hard to come by.

One hundred years later, we are in debt to those who had a vision for this wonderful worship facility.

Now, we have an opportunity to have that same kind of impact on people that will never meet us, people who will come this way 100 years from now, unless the Lord comes again.

But we also have an opportunity to have an impact on our community right now.  We have a chance to make an immediate impact on people who need a church home and who need to know the love of Jesus.

Each one of us has been a part of the vision process that took nearly eighteen months to complete.

When our Future Story was written by three different teams, all three of our scenarios included the construction of a new worship facility for contempory worship.  These stories came about as these teams listened to you.

This is how we know that the Holy Spirit is working within all of us.  Our final story then contained the building of this facility as a part of our vision.

The Building Committee has been working all year with our architect to draw plans for a contemporary worship center that will house 300 worshippers,

The new building will allow all of our people to be under one roof during the Sunday School and worship hour except our teenagers.

Having enough space for both services allows both services the opportunity to grow.

They will be able to move into space vacated by the Reach Worship service.

This vision is essential in part because of the tremendous growth taking place in our county.

When Jennifer Logan began her job as the Elections Director for Jackson County five years ago, there were 35,000 registered voters. Now there are 50,000.  The question for us isn’t, “Where are all those people coming from?  It’s, “Where are those people going to church?”

We need to be canvasing new neighborhoods and inviting people to come to this church, but need more space to received them.  We have space in our traditional service, but we don’t have enough space in our contemporary service.

When we build both services will grow. As long as you are committed and unified to the vision of this church, this church will grow.

Our Future Story is based on the theme “The Field of Dreams.”  Our four areas of vision are the Field of Technology, the Field of Discipleship, the Mission Field, and the Construction Field.

At the end of section four, the “Construction Field,” the team wrote, “Build it, and they will come.”  These words were a part of the movie, “Field of Dreams.”

Marty Benton, our consultant with Injoy Stewardship had a different view.  He said, “They are coming, so we must build it.”

When you think about it this way, it places urgency of our project.  We must be compelled to reach those that are here and those that are coming.

God will bring who He wants to this church.  As a part of our vision, we want to be unique in giving people a choice in their worship style and with room to grow in our worship space.

God will bring who He wants to this church.

Do not think for a moment that God did not know the future 15 years ago.   If you were here 15-years ago, I know that you firmly believed then that your efforts were for a facility in that time and place.  But now, look at the beauty of the bigger picture.

There is no way this church would be in a position to take advantage of this new wave of growth in this community and promote the gospel of Jesus Christ had it not been for the hard work and the visionary work done 15 years ago.

The vision we now have is an extension of that vision. It is only delayed.

It has been modified to fit the changing needs we have.

We have the same architect working on our plans as we did 15 years ago.  We also have the same Financial Consulting Firm, which seems to be the kind of continuity we need and the kind of affirmation we need from our first campaign 15 years ago to see that God is working.

Next time you see a Tesla, remember that Elon Musk has a greater vision than to build cars.

His vision is “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”

He has chosen battery-operated automobiles to do this.

Remember, God has a greater vision for our church than the vision to build a new facility.  The vision God has given to us to bring people to Jesus.

We are choosing to build because the first place people typically go when they are curious about spiritual issues is to a service of worship.

We have the opportunity to be unique in Jefferson by offering both a contemporary and a traditional service.

In our traditional service, we have the opportunity to offer people a connection to traditional worship that people from many faith traditions can identify.

Even people that come from other denominations can come to  our traditional services and feel some comfort with our more formal style of worship. People who grew up in church, but dropped out, often return to traditional service of worship.

The beauty of our sanctuary building, it’s stained glass windows, the traditional music, attention to prayer, the preached word from the pulpit, all help people feel a connection to the faith which they grew up. There’s great value in assisting people in staying connected with a faith like that.

In our new facility, people will gather for worship in a more modern setting. God is worshipped through music that allows for more expression through movement and sounds that help people express themselves to God freely. The atmosphere for those that like this service is more relaxed, less formal.

Many people who come to this service may not be as churched or have a history with the church. People who are trying out church for the first time often try it out a contemporary service.

The new facility will have plenty of room to gather for meals and churchwide social events.

We will have the capability of using the space for recreation for children, youth, and senior citizens.

There will be gathering spaces for more interaction before and after Sunday school.

Aside from this project, attention will be given to upgrading the outside playground area for our children by our weekday preschool.

Regardless of which worship service you attend, you will use this facility. If you have children or grandchildren, they will use this facility.

Because we will all use it, we should all want to support it financially.

But more than that, we should all be committed to the same vision.

One thing I know about churches is that they do not drive themselves. They must have leaders, and leaders must have a vision.

However, the vision must come from the Holy Spirit. We want to be a Holy Spirit driven church.

If anyone tries to drive the church with his/her agenda, we will fail. If we fall asleep at the wheel, we will fail.

There is a small town in North Georgia with two Baptist churches less than one mile apart. One church is downtown. It now landlocked and continues to dwindle in membership. The other church is just on the outskirts of town, and it’s a thriving church with more than 1000 members.

What’s the difference?

About 40 years ago, one church fell asleep at the wheel. They got comfortable. They didn’t risk anything. They were happy to have money in the bank, but mostly, they had no vision.

The church on the outskirts of town had a vision. In fact, across the street from the large church is a small building, which is about the size of the landlocked church. It’s their clothes closet, but it used to be their church.

They saw the growth coming to their little mountain town. They bought property across the street, and that church invested in the Kingdom of God. Lives were changed. People came to Jesus. And they are still coming.

If we do not follow God’s vision, we will wake up and discover we are far away from where God intended us to be.   We missed a window of opportunity because we failed to listen the Him.

Why is so important to have a vision?

Proverbs 29:18 says it simply and plainly, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

There are people all around us that are living and dying without Jesus.

We have a vision. God gave it to us.  God gave it to us to bring more people to Him.

Now it’s up to each of us.  Remember, the vision isn’t about a building, so we need to be busy right now reaching out to people ans sharing Jesus with them.

Will you be a hindrance to the vision or will you help it succeed?