At One Rock one of our curriculum streams is Discerning Vision. We are passionate about helping people to discern better God’s call on their lives – helping them see with greater clarity the future that God wants them to be working towards.
It’s a major benefit to ourselves when we discern more clearly what we are called to be doing with our lives. It gives purpose to our existence, gives us a reason to get up each morning, and therefore contributes enormously to an emotionally healthy sense of well-being.
But it obviously benefits far more people than just ourselves though. When we have a clearer picture of the better world we are working towards, we are much more likely to achieve it. And that leads to changed lives, orphans looked after, corporations becoming more ethical, people coming into relationship with Jesus… and more. That’s the power of vision. That’s why it’s so important.
But I’ve come to realise there are several things bound up within this whole concept. I believe there are three V’s that every person should consider, and that discerning them will lead to a changed life, and therefore a changed world, on a whole new level. They are Vision, Vocation and Values.
- Vision: This is the big picture change you would like to see. What has God placed on your heart? How do you want things to be different, in your church, your organisation, your town, or your nation? What do you see in an ideal future? People who currently live on the streets actually having their own homes? Friends or family members who don’t know God coming to a living faith in Jesus? Nations currently struggling with poverty and corruption being able to stand on their own feet? This is the vision – what you see in a better future.
- Vocation: This is an older word the church used to talk more about, but which has now gone out of fashion. A more modern word for it is mission. If the vision is the big picture change you want to see, your mission/ your vocation is the work you are personally called to take on, in order to make the vision happen. Often this is discerned through looking at our gifts. How has God made you? What are your natural talents and spiritual gifts? What can you seemingly do more easily than others? These are great clues as to your vocation, i.e. the unique contribution you are called to make.
- Values: If vision is what you are working towards, and vocation is what you are actually doing, then values are the way you do things. Your values should stem from what you see in Jesus, so would include things like honesty, love and compassion. These things should be present in all believers. But there may also be some values you have taken on due to experiences you’ve had. Being hurt, or going through painful experiences, should make us want to ensure other people don’t have to suffer in a similar way. So a person who was often criticized in their childhood may decide they want encouragement to be a key part of their make up. A person who suffered injustice may have a much more highly attuned sense of fairness than others. What are the values that you hold most dear?
Vision, Vocation and Values. If we can better discern what God has called us to in each of these areas, we will surely all find ourselves envisioning a much better world, be working towards making that future a reality, and be doing that work in a way that glorifies God and brings dignity to our fellow human beings.
Mark Williamson is a founding director of One Rock International. He’s a lay preacher and leader within the Methodist Church, author of a biography on John Wesley, and currently researching for a biography on William Wilberforce. He enjoys good films, good food, praying for London, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna.