"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus to Timothy, my dear son" (2 Timothy 1:1a, 2a).

Every church ends up somewhere in its life and ministry. Only few churches that have a vision know where they are headed - end up where they want to be. Vision is a great motivator. It creates something new, dares to dream dreams about the future, and helps move forward. Yet we go through times when our vision fades, its flame begins to dim and its passion begins to ease. That’s what was happening to young Timothy, the Apostle Paul’s young protégé. Paul had sent Timothy to try to recover a mess in the church in Ephesus. Yet when he got there, he found the entire leadership team in the church was older than he was and did not respect his leadership. To make matters worse, he was shy and timid, so he had a tendency to avoid confrontation. The stress of his ministry was affecting his health. In the meantime, the Paul had been arrested. So Timothy’s vision needed to be renewed and that’s why Paul wrote him a second letter.

Paul’s second letter to Timothy is his last letter. It serves to renew Timothy’s vision, and also serves to renew our vision. As we look at 2 Timothy 1:1-10, we see 5 specific areas where our church’s vision needs to be renewed.

  1. Renewing our vision for worship (1-3). We renew our vision for worship by embracing a lifestyle of devotion to God. We find an emphasis on worship in the word “serve” which refers to service offered to God as an act of worship. We need to make worship the lifestyle of our devotion to God, not just a Sunday morning church activity. 
  2. Renewing our vision for prayer (4-5). We renew our vision for prayer by expressing – opening our hearts to God. Paul expresses his heart and reports how he prayed day and night for Timothy remembering his tears and longing to be reunited with him and how he came to faith in Christ through his grandmother and mother. We need to make prayer the expression of our hearts to God. 
  3. Renewing our vision for service (6-7). We renew our vision for service by using the gifts God has given to us. God had given Timothy the gifts he needed to be effective as His servant. But the fire of God’s gift, in Timothy’s life, was going out because his fear was holding him back from using his gifts. Paul encourages him to “fan the flame” of his gift, so it would once again burn brightly and with intensity. We need to make service the means to use our gifts. 
  4. Renewing our vision for outreach (8a). We renew our vision for outreach by testifying about Jesus - by putting into words how He has changed our lives and by reaching out to others by our relationships. We need to make outreach the overflow of our joy of knowing Jesus as our Lord and Savior. 
  5. Renewing our vision for nurture (8b-10). We renew our vision for nurture by responding to God’s invitation to a holy life – a life separated from sin and wholly devoted to God, a life of spiritual growth and maturity nourished by the Word of God. We need to make nurture our daily discipline of spiritual maturity.

At church we need a vision that creates the necessary changes in our lives and pulls us toward what God has for us. This means that we need to renew our vision for worship by actually worshipping; for prayer by actually praying; for service by actually using our gifts to serve; for outreach by actually testifying about Jesus; and for nurture by actually responding to God’s call to a holy life. Helen Keller was asked once, “What would be worse than being born blind?” To which she replied, “Having sight without a vision.” What a profound statement by a woman, who was born deaf, dumb and blind. She could not help how she came into the world, but she sure could help how she left it.

Rev. Avedis Boynerian
Armenian Memorial Church, Watertown, USA