Vision and Creativity - The Hallmarks of Apostolic Ministry Print E-mail

Wendell E. Hutchins II

Church of Champions
Houston, Texas

Vision and Creativity
The Hallmarks of Apostolic Ministry

More often than not today, America’s Christian congregations have been tightly gripped by the gnarled fingers of lethargy and sleep. The believers, who are alert and judicious, join the refrain and sing, “Oh, how the mighty have fallen!” as they look upon the forlorn who flounder without passion, purpose or direction. This generation, upon whom the ends of the world have come, is morose with monotonous living. Downcast in sullen sorrow, their vision is a borrowed vision. They have, for too long, had their Jesus experience framed by the opinions of lethargy-laden peers. As a result, their vertical vision has been sequestered and all they possess now is sullied “religious” relationships with horizontal pleasers.

The Holy Writ contains seventy-nine references to the word “vision.” The wise king declared, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18) Solomon carefully selects the word chazah (khaw-zaw') for vision. Chazah is a primitive root word meaning: to gaze at; to mentally perceive; contemplate with pleasure – to have a vision of; to behold, look, prophesy, provide, or see. It’s also been said that vision is an unusual competence in discernment or perception; intelligent foresight, or the spiritual experience of seeing as if with the eyes of the supernatural or a supernatural being.

Vision is the transport by which the seer is allowed to perceive that which is enveloped in future settings, and all of this is bound to the integrity of the law of God. You see, vision’s framework and reference point is the inerrant, unalterable Word of God. Vision finds its genesis in God’s law and Solomon says that true vision remains anchored in it. That’s why the writer said, “Order my steps in thy Word; and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.” (Psalm 119:133)

So, in the context of Scripture, vision is God-sight. Vision is given for the seer to possess understandings of the times and knowledge for the purposes of God in the present season.

Vision is borne out of prayer. True vision is produced out of a relationship with God because vision is what God uses as the inciter (or ignition) of His God-likeness in each of us, His image creatures. Vision releases in every man, woman, boy and girl the dimension of the Creator and His creativity. I submit to you that it is when an individual is acting upon his/her creative genius that, in that moment, they are more alive than at any other time. Why? Because the creativity that is released is the outgrowth of their vision, and it is in this holy arena of purpose and passion, that we become more like God than in any other human activity.

God said, “...Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen. 1:3) The Scripture goes on to declare, “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” (Gen. 1:6) Genesis goes on to record that “God said,” “God made,” “God saw,” “God created,” “God gave,” “God blessed,” and all of this flows out of His vision for the earth and for His image creature – His likeness. God-vision is full of creative energy. That’s why the Lord would say to Habakkuk, “…write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” (Habakkuk 2:2) The characteristics of vision are (1) singleness of purpose, (2) singleness of eye.

It is noteworthy then, that while in the captivity of Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, Daniel the Seer discovers the power of his God-vision. Daniel’s vision of God and His Kingdom purpose surpassed his fear of a disapproving heathen king. We discover by Daniel’s own pen the power of a Keeping God who is able to take pulse and water and nourish the body of the servant of the Most High God to health and vitality. Daniel declared to the fear-filled eunuch, “Return in ten days and look upon my countenance and see if it be as fair as the countenance of the children who eat of the portion of the king’s meat.” (Daniel 1:12-13)

Leaders who desire to be seers must be attentive to the lesson Daniel teaches regarding God-vision. We recognize that vision traditionally leads to challenge. You see, vision has historically served as the chariot in which men of faith ride boldly into conflict. Vision always leads to confrontation on some level because vision challenges the seer’s perception of reality between his present circumstance and his eternal purpose. Daniel also teaches us that God-vision will never leave you alone, but it will always disturb you. Hence, Daniel would say, “And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business; and I was astonished at the vision , but none understood it.” (Daniel 8:27) Daniel would later say, “O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength.” (Daniel 10:16)

I see something here; God-vision arrives to each of us as revelation. Vision is required to discover any aspect of truth. Jesus said, “6 …I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen (VISION) me hath seen (VISION) the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? (John 14:6-9)

The apostolic church, by its very nature, is a place of worship that is built upon the foundation of God-vision. Church should be the one place in a believer’s culture where diversity is celebrated, creativity is released, new things are enjoyed, and new ideas are enhanced. Church is central to God’s display of His creative works. Church should be the place where the souls of the hurting are enveloped in His great love and the community is strengthened by the disciples of Christ loving one another through God-vision. Church is the place where preparations are made for the saints. Leaders with vision take the saints into the tableland of God’s hallowed blessings. Churches with God-vision are the locales in which God can fully equip the believers. All of this impartation and releasing of spiritual gifts flows out of the creative nature of God. God-vision is so significant to His Kingdom work that as His “image” we must be careful to promote an environment of prayer through which the vision of God will remain in its purity and purpose and in the integrity of its revelation.

I submit to you that God-vision, born in your life by the Holy Ghost, will face certain opposition. You will be challenged to get off-track. You will be challenged to stay on the right track. You will be challenged to maintain your vision and its holy purpose in your life. Every real God-ordained, God-sent leader has, does, and shall face the hellish assault that comes with vertical vision. A visionary must stay focused in order to keep his/her vertical vision from God, or they’ll end up getting, by default, a man-made horizontal vision from others.

Horizontal visions are, most often, given to us by people who want to keep us on their level. They are vandals who desire to hijack our destinies by sowing a supplanting word of doubt into our life regarding the vision God has given us. People who want to talk you out of “your” vision want nothing less than to influence your life until they can leverage that influence against your vision. Brothers and sisters, when you appease their voice – you prop up and promote their manipulation. There is an old axiom, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease!” Every time you grease the wheels of negativity and criticism, you give momentum to vision-vandals who want to redirect your vision to the horizontal. Once your vision goes horizontal, you lose!

Since the fall of mankind, vision-vandals have attempted to pillage the creative ideas of God-inspired dreamers and visionaries. These practitioners of vision-stealing desire to stop you momentarily in your pursuit of God’s will and holy purpose. They want to limit your life in crucial moments. They want to paralyze the revivalist who dreams of a city-wide revival that shakes his/her community. Moreover, they want to paralyze you from moving into creativity, because if they can kill your creativity, your ministry model will die on the altar of your frustration.

Our ministry model is the mighty Nazarene, Jesus the Christ. When our creativity dies, Jesus ceases to be our Rabbi & Lord in function and feasibility. “Why,” you ask? Because Jesus always leads His disciples to do “creative works.” That’s why He said, “…greater things than these shall ye do…” Jesus challenges every child of faith and vision to ask themselves two tough questions, (1) “Will I continue to splash in the soothing shallows of sameness,” or (2) “Will I risk riding the crest of creativity that’s in Jesus?” In other words, will I opt for temporary relief from the pain or will I stretch myself and keep going?

Daniel was brought into the palace of foreign kings. He was a Stranger to the movements, ways, customs, & attitudes of the Babylonian Empire. Yet, the Bible says that God, “…brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of eunuchs.” (Daniel 1:9) It is clear that Daniel purposed in his heart to retain the integrity of His eternal purpose (God-VISION) and not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat. He made up in his mind that God’s will was far more important than his physical welfare, and because of his VISION, God said, “I am going to prove My favor.”

We note in the life of Daniel that dynamic God-vision gives birth to opposition. Notice now, vision birthed opposition. Daniel’s faith became his escort into his trial, but Daniel’s opposition became his escort to revelation. Daniel did not know God as Deliverer until he embraced the trial of his vision. It is only when our vision is galvanized in our spirit by the harsh reality of opposition that the eyes of God are given to us. “Daniel had an understanding in all visions and dreams.” (Daniel 1:17) Daniel interprets dreams and visions, and yet, we find him continually challenged. His prayer life is challenged. His character is assassinated. He is falsely accused. He is maliciously charged with treason. He is sentenced to death. All over vision!

Revelation will cause men to hate you and their hatred will conspire to destroy you! Hungry lions were assembled. The vision-vandals had marshaled their vision-eaters to devour Daniel but God-vision is so powerfully creative that it stops the mouth of hungry lions. Vision is so powerful that it will reserve the malicious to become the meal of the hungry. You see, vision will arrest the opposition until opposition screams from its throne a One-God praise – “How great are His signs! And how mighty are His wonders! His Kingdom is an Everlasting Kingdom, and His Dominion is from generation to generation.” (Dan. 4:3)

Pastor, Teacher, Leader, Feeder – the assembly you shepherd is to be a church where weary men find refuge. A place of deliverance for the captive and healing for the hurting. It’s a house of vision for those who have lost their spiritual eye. Vision should be so strong in your church that if you dare step into the river which appears between your known and God’s known, it will part for you so that you may walk into your promised land.

Spiritual vision was powerful enough to redeem the broken fragments of Israel’s great judge, Samson. He lost his natural eyes as a result of the forfeiture of his spiritual focus. Vertical vision was compromised in the lap of a Philistine girl and the pillager of purpose rejoiced over Samson’s apparent failure. However, the enemy underestimated the power of vision and, although it appeared that he had reduced the greatest among Israel’s Judges to a blind slave at a grinding wheel, something happened while harnessed in the yoke of his failure and captivity. A stirring began in Samson’s soul and he remembered. His spiritual vision started to return. Samson’s focus on his heavenly calling began to boil like a great tempest in his spirit. Samson began to remember the spoils of war and the triumph of victory. He remembers the smell of a fresh lion kill. Samson remembers the thirty Philistine men dying. He remembers tying the tails of three hundred foxes and he remembers the smell the firebrands and burning fields. Samson remembers cords being loosed and a thousand men being slain with the jawbone of an ass. Samson remembers lifting the gates of the city and sprinting toward the hills. He remembers God’s purpose and his vow. Samson remembers his hair and Dagon’s Temple. Samson remembers his vision of victory! And because Samson was willing to embrace his God-vision (even after personal failure), “He slew more of God’s enemies in his death, than he did in all of his life.” (Judges 16:30) Though Samson lost his natural eyes, his spiritual purpose exceeded the limitation of his natural body!

Leader of God’s flock, be released in this season to do all that God has shown you. Be bold. Be strong. Do exploits. Be creative. Be passionate. Unleash the power of God’s creative work in your midst. Simply put, work miracles! Let your vision inspire you to dream big and invest your life into the greatest thing going and growing, the Church of Christ Jesus.

Wendell Hutchins II serves as Founder and Senior Pastor of the Church of Champions in Houston, Texas and Bishop to emerging Book of Acts communities throughout North America. He collaborates with a team of dreamers and is instrumental in the development of creative church models that are impacting our culture with a spiritual revolution. Pastor Hutchins has been an advisor to key leaders of various groups, denominations, and Christian leadership strategy coalitions. He is sought after for his leadership expertise in the field of church growth strategies. Wendell is a frequent conference speaker as well as guest lecturer in the Divinity programs for various seminaries and universities.

Pastor Hutchins is listed in the “Who’s Who In Religion” for his accomplishments, contributions and efforts to empower the church to better North America’s communities. Wendell also serves as Chairman of Helping Hands of Champions, Inc. and is a Senior Partner with the firm Treadstone Realty Group, LLC.

Pastor Hutchins has been married to his sweetheart Ann for twenty-eight years. They have two children, Blair and Morgan and are proud grandparents to Christian, Trey, and Cy.

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