Tim Chesterton has an alternative take on the role of vision in church life:
'Where there is no vision, the people sigh with relief and get back to loving one another'.
Tim's been reading some provocative posts by David Hayward on vision, and why it's bad for the church. However, in one of those posts is the line: "What would it be like just to gather, worship, pray and teach the scripture, and love one another?" That, if I'm not mistaken, is a vision: a picture of the way things should be. Yes there is a danger in churches being dragged off course by one or two people having a strident 'vision' which everyone else has to conform to.
But if a whole church community can agree on their picture of the way things should be, on what they are working towards, then I can't see how that's a bad thing. Jesus is constantly setting before people a picture of things being different: the Beatitudes, the Lords Prayer, John 17, the parables etc. A church without an agreed vision is in danger of ending up going nowhere, or at the mercy of whoever prays the loudest. Like it or not, we all have a vision: a picture of how we think the church ought to be, a picture about which we are passionate. Ask people to describe their ideal church, or the most memorable act of worship they've taken part in, or the most enriching community they've been part of, and you're not often short of material.
Yes it's wrong to take business ideas wholesale and just drop them on a local church from a great height. But shying away from any shared picture of the kind of church you want to be, or the reason you exist in the first place, seems like deliberately closing your eyes when it would be better to open them.
PS comments on this may take a while to appear, as we have a church weekend on at the moment.