There’s a place in the Bible where Solomon makes a keen observation about human beings. He writes, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverb 29:18). As one of the greatest kings of Israel—and one of the wisest men who ever lived—Solomon knew what he was talking about. Vision is important. In fact, it’s critical. Without it, people perish. What’s that mean?
He’s not saying that people will die. The word perish doesn’t mean “to destroy.” It means literally “to let loose.” In other words, without vision you get chaos. Without vision you get a big mess.
Eugene Peterson captured that idea in the Message translation: “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble over one another.” That’s it. Solomon was a king and knew the perils of a vision-less kingdom. No vision means a messy kingdom with confused, angry, exhausted people.
But read the rest of the verse… “But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.” Hear that? Pay attention to what God has said and you can’t miss what he wants for you and your church. We don’t get to make up our own vision. We get it from God—from his word. Mess or bless. Which one sounds more appealing?
At GraceLife, we use 3 simple metrics to clarify and filter the vision God has given us: Gather, grow, and go.
GATHER is about community. It can be as simple as meeting together corporately on Sunday, or attending a community group. It’s getting together with other believers with a clear purpose.
GROW is about strength. That can mean studying the Bible, receiving counsel in a specific area of struggle, and especially gathering with just a couple of believers to confess sin, pray, dig into Scripture, and be honest.
GO is about action. It’s living on mission for Jesus and pouring your life into others. The hospitality team at GraceLife, missionary work in Ireland, serving at the local pregnancy center, or serving your neighborhood—to GO is to live with gospel intentionality.
All three of those metrics are critical. If you don’t gather, you won’t grow. If you don’t grow, you weaken your mission. But when you gather, you grow deep, stand tall and reach wide, “like a tree planted by streams of water.”
If an opportunity or suggestion doesn’t help us move in one of those directions, we toss it. We don’t want to be the church with 500 ministries. Our aim is simple: We want to reach outsiders with the hope of the Gospel. We are the insiders who exist for the outsiders.
Our vision calls us to be careful and selective. That means we say “no” to lesser pursuits, but only so we can say “yes” to better, more urgent pursuits.
At GraceLife, we’re saying “yes” to gathering, growing, and going. But we’re saying “no” to whatever competes with that vision.
To getting buried with busyness that isolates and exhausts us, we say no.
To neglecting the ancient, proven practice of spiritual disciplines, we say no.
To erecting barriers that shield us from a world of empty, broken people, we say no.
To regularly gather with believers to worship, pray, and confess sin, we say yes.
To creating space in our life to regularly commune with God, we say yes.
To intentionally befriend and serve outsiders, we say yes.
If we are truly following Jesus, that’s where the path leads. And the best news? Anyone can get in on this!
Three realities have proven themselves since we launched in 2015:
Change is a community project. We’re no good by ourselves. We need one another to help us see Jesus more clearly and follow him more closely.
Only the Gospel has the power to transform and restore us [That’s the good news that Jesus came to rescue and restore his creation through his life, death and resurrection].
If we’re going to reach outsiders, we must go to them, not wait on them to come to us. That’s the great commission: “Go into all the world…”