It is important for organizations to have mission and vision statements to guide the future of the organization. I currently am serving as part of an organization that has three different mission statements.
What is the best way to navigate these differences? What takes precedence in ministry? Who best decides how differing mission statements are integrated, adjusted or ignored? Why do these statements need to be different (or the same)?
Like a local church, an annual conference and denomination with a mission (Why do we exist?) and a vision (Where are we going?) are more likely to contain vital congregations. The clarity of purpose and direction helps shape the life of the community in both subtle and significant ways.
The United Methodist Church has a mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the World. The annual conferences where I am currently connected have a mission or vision statement:
Kansas East – The Kansas East Conference’s mission is to connect and empower people and churches in living out the Gospel‘s call to invite, nurture, equip and send forth disciples of Jesus Christ.
Kansas West – “As we make disciples of Jesus Christ, the Kansas West Conference calls God’s people to invite through radical hospitality, excite for intentional faith-sharing and unite in risk-taking mission for the transformation of the world.” – Kansas West Conference vision adopted May 2008
As you celebrate Independence Day in the United States today, I invite you to remember. the words of Paul in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
I recently read How to Choose a Church by Bruce Reyes-Chow and wanted to take time to share with you some of the things that I share with people considering either leaving Resurrection for another church or beginning to attend Resurrection from another church.
It really matter to me whether you attend Resurrection or not. What I care about is that you are part of a faith community where you are both comfortable and challenged. I don’t want you to dread coming to worship every Sunday, nor should participation in the community be a chore for you. However, I hoep that you would be involved in a church where you are challenged to continue to grow and develop in your faith. Each one of us is on a journey of growing in our faith and the church in which you participate plays a big role in that journey. If that place is at Resurrection, that’s great. If not, that’s okay too. I care most about you growing in your faith and living as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
How do you feel about this response? What conversations have you had with people leaving a church to attend another? What could be done better? What is good about this approach?
“The task of witnessing to the Gospel in the digital era calls for everyone to be particularly attentive to the aspects of that message which can challenge some of the ways of thinking typical of the web. First of all, we must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its “popularity” or from the amount of attention it receives. We must make it known in its integrity, instead of seeking to make it acceptable or diluting it. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction. The truth of the Gospel is not something to be consumed or used superficially; rather it is a gift that calls for a free response. Even when it is proclaimed in the virtual space of the web, the Gospel demands to be incarnated in the real world and linked to the real faces of our brothers and sisters, those with whom we share our daily lives. Direct human relations always remain fundamental for the transmission of the faith!”
Here are a few points that I particularly appreciate from this short paragraph:
The reminder that the truth of the gospel is not based on how many Likes or Retweets that are received.
The good news of Jesus Christ is not something to be consumed, but rather something that calls for a response
Meeting people face to face is important.
Will you please share your thoughts, feelings or opinions about this selection? I commend the entire message to you.
Paul is brought before the city leaders in Athens and preaches the good news of Jesus Christ. In response,
“Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.” Acts 17:34
The text clearly states that people “became followers of Paul and believed.” While the example of a deeply committed Christian is worth following, I would have first considered that they became followers of Jesus. Is there a difference between belief and practice? Can you help me make sense of this verse of scripture?
“Instead of planning for specific buildings, campuses, staff roles, and outreach, I’m planning to be prepared for opportunities that I can’t name today. We are creating margin and planning to respond quickly to ideas that we don’t yet have.
Speed, agility, flexibility, and financial margin are far better than a detailed road map.”
This is a great articulation of what I believe will be most helpful both at Resurrection Online and at any of the churches that I will serve in the future. It is not helpful to become captive to a vision of the future that includes tangible specifics more than five away. So are you ready for it?
“As a twentysomething, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don’t want cool as much as we want real. If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it’s easy or trendy or popular. It’s because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It’s because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It’s not because we want more of the same.”
I resonate with the desire to experience a faith community that is real and not cool. It doesn’t even have to be cool, if it is real. A local church should strive to be real and authentic. Represent who the community actually is in any communications, remind people of who you want to become in every gathering of the people and always seek to become like Jesus.
It seems that this question has most to do with how one interprets the Bible. Scripture is inspired by God and paints a picture of God’s character, God’s action and God’s people.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:16-17, TNIV.
Scripture is the written Word of God that reveals the personal Word of God, Jesus Christ. The good news and truth of scripture can be a source of faith. As such, scripture becomes authoritative and normative for the Christian life.
So what does this mean when it comes to Jesus’ miracles? I believe that Jesus miracles are true and historical fact. They point to the reality that Jesus is God in the flesh and that He has control over all creation. However, my faith does not rest on the historicity of Jesus’ miracles.
One of the goals in the mission of the church is changing behavior.
Making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Making a disciple of Jesus Christ means that one wasn’t before. It also means that there is something that sets apart a disciple of Jesus Christ from someone who is not.
Sometimes the change in behavior comes before a change in heart. For example, a neighbor who gives to a neighborhood food drive before ever being present with the church who organized the event.
Sometimes change in heart comes before a change in behavior. For example, an individual who responds to an evangelistic event at the local park and seeks out connection with a local church.
No matter what one’s spiritual development looks like, there will always be a change in behavior.
“But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18, TNIV).