Buckets, buckets, buckets…

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By Dan Hazen

Bill Hybels, Senior pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, is fond of reminding other church leaders that, “vision leaks”.

Imagine each person at AC3 carrying a bucket with them everywhere they go. It’s not filled with water but with vision. Like water, vision sustains us, nourishes, energizes and keeps us strong, healthy and focused on the mission to which God has called us. Everyone has one of these vision buckets and everyone needs the vision they contain. The Bible says that “without vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18

So you can understand why it’s important to remember that “vision leaks”! Just like a hike through the desert with a leaky canteen, it would be really uncomfortable, or even disastrous to begin a God-adventure with a leaking vision bucket, and no way to re-fill it.

The journey would certainly fail.

There are two responsible parties when it comes to keeping your bucket full to the brim with fresh, invigorating vision:

1. It’s you. Acts 2:42 says of the people in the first church, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Notice that the action is on the part of the people: “they devoted themselves…” In our culture of deepening selfishness and demanding customer service, it’s important to remember that each of us is first responsible for our own relationship with God and with connecting to his vision in a meaningful way. Is your vision bucket low or empty? It’s on you to take steps to get it filled back up!

2. Your leaders. If you need a dose of vision, and you’re ready to do something about it..Good for you! But where do you go? Ephesians 4:11 says , “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service…” A big part of a leader’s job in equipping the people of the church is to fill up their vision buckets. That’s why we’re here! One of my favorite experiences as a church leader is to sit across from a brother or sister and hear them say, “I want more of God in my life – I want to make a difference for Him, I want my life to count…but where do I start?” 

In that spirit: here’s a cup or two of vision for your bucket:

If, as you read this, you consider AC3 your church home, I want you to know that the Creative Teams are this week working feverishly to get ready for a new series called “Beach Bucket Bingo” 

(do you see what I did there….beach BUCKET…vision BUCKET..do you see? Do you?!)

It’s a silly, all original (including music!) sermon series examining friendships in our post-modern world. It’s an homage to the 1960’s ‘beach party” movie genre. You can watch a trailer for the 1965 movie that inspired us here.

What you may not be aware of, though, is that all the effort being put forth by set-builders, actors, musicians, teachers and support people is not for you.

“Wow, Hazen, way to fill up my vision bucket  –  with VINEGAR!”

But hold on. 
Stick with me. 

It’s not for you… It’s for the people you love. 

One of the biggest leaks in AC3 vision buckets is the notion that weekend services are first for “us”. They are not. They are for you to use as a safe place to invite your friends who are far from God, struggling, questioning, or hurting. There are countless empty seats in really great churches all around Marysville where any believer can sit down and receive great teaching, camaraderie, personal fulfillment and a sense of belonging. 

But who is making room for the people who are still on the outside? 

When the the Titanic went down in 1912, only 2 of the 20 lifeboats, once safely in the water, made their way back to the scene in an effort to rescue fellow passengers. Lifeboats #4 and #14. It’s true that not many were saved, but that fact doesn’t really matter the people who were saved.

As we kick off this fun and energetic series, let us temper it with the sobering, courageous and selfless vision of lifeboat #14 plying the waters. Yes – customer service matters. But never forget, AC3:

We are not the customers…

…We are the Staff. 

We are no longer floundering passengers and drowning victims…

…We are The Crew. 

We are already aboard the boat, pulling hard on the oars together, reaching out into the cold night, ready to make room for just….one…more.


57 year old husband of 31 years, father of two, drumming Gardner.