I'm a dreamer. I love to sit around and think about the future. I get excited thinking about what things will be like five years from now, ten years from now, or thirty years from now. As the light at the end of the seminary tunnel begins to get bigger, I get a lot more chances to dream. Each resume I send out provides more fodder for bigger dreams. Each church that responds, weighing out the implications of taking a chance on a young whipper-snapper, provides me with more and more opportunities to think about my future - and the future of the church.

I've always been fascinated by people who dreamed big dreams. Some of my favorite books are the biographies of men and women from various points in history who moved forward with dreams that nobody else thought were possible. Those are my kind of people - the ones who dreamed big, and who had the courage to put feet on their dreams. I want to be like those people...

One of the buzz words today is the word "vision." People who dream big dreams and put feet on those dreams are called "visionaries."

But I think that "vision" is something of a misnomer for what these people do. "Vision" implies someone who can see into the future. We get the idea that "visionary" people have an ability to forecast everything that would happen in the world, and to create ideas that would be on the cutting edge of those events - modern-day prophets, who can see the unforseeable and act accordingly.

As I study the great "visionaries" of today and of history, I find that these people are most often not people who have a clear picture of the future in their mind. Instead, I find that the majority of the people we call "visionaries" are more astute in history and current-events than the future. Rather than attempting to guess what a culture will look like in fifty years, they concentrate on the things that never change and plan to adapt.

I'm not even going to try to tell you what the culture will look like when I've been a pastor for fifty years. But what I can tell you is that in fifty years, the gospel will be the only hope of the world. In fifty years, people will still be hurting, and will still have a desperate need for meaningful community. In fifty years there will still be a struggle between sin and grace, and believers will still need to be challenged to live in accordance with their identity in Christ.

Some things never change. And my forecast of the future is this: the ones who will hold the keys to the future are the ones who understand the timeless truths of the past and plan to adapt their language and methods accordingly.