The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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     The Southern Baptist Convention was organized in 1845 at the First Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia. As a tribute to the faith of the Convention’s founders, the church placed an inscription in the building: “Men who see the invisible, hear the inaudible, believe the incredible, and think the unthinkable.”

     The opening phrase of this inscription introduces yet another role and responsibility of your pastor. In addition to his charge and challenge to Exposit, to Exhort, to Evangelize and to Equip, your pastor strives to Envision what God’s desire and design is for the congregation to which he has been called to serve. In this way, your pastor is a see-cher. Admittedly I am coining a new word for the purpose of this article, but I think you will agree that the pastor plays an important role in providing visionary leadership for moving the church forward in the present with a keen eye on the future.

     Vision has been referred to as the “fuel for ministry” representing the why of everything that the pastor does week after week. As one who envisions, the pastor’s visionary leadership is:

  • Founded on Faith – The pastor must be a leader of unwavering faith in God to direct his path and the path for the church (Proverbs 3:5-6). “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20-21).
  • Fixed on the Father“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this…” (Psalm 37:4-5). The pastor continually asks the Lord to align (and perhaps realign) plans, desires and goals in a manner consistent with achieving God’s desire and purpose for the church. Further, the pastor encourages the church that God’s power is active and available through the Holy Spirit and will accomplish “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20).
  • Focused on the Future – People will follow a pastor who demonstrates a future-focused vision and demonstrates the leadership qualities necessary to carry out that vision. A pastor can help his flock leave past issues in the past while looking forward with victorious hope to the future as highlighted by the apostle Paul with “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on…” (Philippians 3:13b).
  • Forwarded through a Framework – Jesus offered a precise and concise framework for fulfilling the vision of and mission for His church… “As you go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Further elaboration on this framework is articulated in Acts 2:42-47.

     Against the backdrop of envisioning, the pastor Enlists others to help carry out the church’s vision and mission. The word chosen to underscore this particular task of the pastor is pleach. Let me explain how a pastor is a pleach-er. The term “pleach” means to interweave or interlace vines or branches as when forming a hedge or providing a cover (arbor) over a walkway. Thus, the pastor is a pleach-er who enlists members of the body of Christ and helps interweave them into a unified and cohesive whole through the discovery, development, and deployment of spiritual giftedness. In this manner the body is well-postured to accomplish works of service, attain maturity and fullness in Christ, and “build itself up in love as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:12-13; 1 Corinthians 12:12-18).

     As you extend appreciation to your pastor, remember the heavy load that he carries through his responsibilities to Exposit, Exhort, Evangelize, Equip, Envision, and Enlist for the benefit of your church and for the glory of God. Continue to pray for your pastor and your church. Commit yourself to participate in the life of your church recognizing that you are never a part of the church until you have a part in the church.


Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for pastors…men who see the invisible, hear the inaudible, believe the incredible, and think the unthinkable. Amen.