There are many blessings of being in ministry as the pastor of a local church. One of these blessings is the opportunity to lead our congregation in mission to the community. In my role at Resurrection West, I have the opportunity to work with a great team of volunteers on the Mission team that organizes and equips our congregation to serve others and share Christ. I love being able to help people live out God’s call in their life.
What blessings do you find in ministry?
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
A local church with a mission (Why do we exist?) and a vision (Where are we going?) is more likely to be a vital congregation. The clarity of purpose and direction helps shape the life of the congregation in both subtle and significant ways. With the lack of a clear statement that people can remember and understand the leadership may go from one “next best thing” to another in ministry and never realize their full potential as a congregation.
The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection where I am currently serving has as a mission (or purpose) statement: Building a Christian community where non-religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians.
I have recently been asking those who regularly worship with Resurrection Online questions about vision. Here they are:
- What is Resurrection Online?
- Why does it matter to people?
- Where do you think it is going now?
- Where do you think it should be going?
I have received some interesting and insightful responses. How might these be applied for you? What other questions do you ask stakeholders about the church or ministry area?
I spent last week at a youth camp, Institute 2010: God’s All Stars, which is a ministry of the Conference Council on Youth Ministry of the Kansas East Annual Conference. This post is part of a series reflecting on the week and making applications for the local church.
I am unable to deny that there are some positive outcomes to Institute. I was still left with the question, What’s the point? It could have been:
- Provide a safe place for students
- Offer freely given love as part of a Christian community
- Create a place where people are always accepted
- Meet new people
- Move forward on the journey of becoming a deeply committed Christian.
- Have fun and play games
- Create a culture of hearing God’s call to ministry
After a week, I am not sure what is the driving purpose of Institute. Those who come to camp become part of the leadership team that plans the next year. Students come year after year. Adults come to serve because they came when they were young. It has been going for 99 years…
I gained some additional insight from Notes on Camp and commend it to you as a great listen and insight into summer camp of all sorts.
I have continued to pitch micro churches as a way of finding renewal within The United Methodist Church and building Christian communities where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. I am currently working on training leaders to launch these faith communities. I hope that by the end of August there will be three micro churches worshiping regularly. I want to share with you the documents and presentation that I am using as a guide to train these leaders.
These continue to be works in progress. I am working on a document now to address sacraments and will post in a later post when it is prepared. Will you please take a look at these documents and offer your response, ideas or opinions?
I am excited for the potential that exists for micro churches to create new places for new people to hear the good news of Jesus Christ.
How’s this for an “About Us” page on church website?
First United Methodist Church (First UMC) brings you a fresh adaptation of the most classic faith concept around. The gospel of Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem and bred across the world as a way of reconciling people to God, but it’s grown up a bit, and has become an active part of bringing the kingdom of God on earth. Imagine the original gospel from early house churches, recreated using 21st century methods, and you have First UMC’s gospel presentation. First UMC (the forerunner denomination’s initials) is bringing “the gospel of Jesus Christ” into the neighborhood. Considering the current economy and the popularity of the burger, the founders Nicole and Andrew, decided to bring you a value-oriented church experience for the grown-up lover of God. At First UMC expect to get great worship made with fresh ingredients, focused service, and a little reverence for the classic gospel of Jesus Christ.
This was inspired a few days ago when Nicole and I were in the Corinth Square shopping center to get a couple pairs of Nicole’s shoes repaired at a great shop. It was about lunch time and we decided to eat at a new restaurant – B.R.G.R. Kitchen + Bar. We split the BRGR burger and it was the best burger that I have had in a long time, yes, better than Five Guys. In addition, the restaurant was an excellently designed space. When we arrived home, I checked out their website. This is where I was really impressed – their about us section reads:
BRGR KITCHEN + BAR brings you a fresh adaptation of the most classic restaurant concept around. The hamburger was born and bred in America as a convenient way to eat on the go, but it’s grown up a bit, and has become our country’s favorite food. Imagine those original burgers from classic burger joints, recreated using 21st century methods, and you have BRGR’s modern burger. BRGR (the owners’ initials) is bringing “the modern burger joint” into the neighborhood. Considering the current economy and the popularity of the burger, the owners Gaylin and Roberts, decided to bring you a value-oriented culinary experience for the grown-up burger lover. At BRGR Kitchen + Bar expect to get great food made with fresh ingredients, focused service, and a little reverence for the classic American burger.
How simple, yet how well executed.
In several of the districts that we visited in Zimbabwe there was a mission centre that in many cases was founded over 100 years ago. These were locations that started to be places of ministry when missionaries from the United States came to what was then Southern Rhodesia. These sites often had a hospital, school, sanctuary and other ministry sites. At Old Mutare Mission, the original site of United Methodist ministry in the country, it felt like an old school mission site, which is exactly what it was. I am not sure how to describe this feeling. I felt thankful for ministry taking place in that site for a long time, however this was mixed with an awareness that in the early 1900s the relationship between missionaries and native people was not always healthy. In any case, I am grateful that God sent and continues to send people to serve others in the name of Jesus Christ.
What area of ministry has continued for many years where you are?
I made it back safely from Zimbabwe last week with the team from the Kansas West Annual Conference. I had an amazing time hearing stories and meeting the people of Zimbabwe. I am working on sorting through the photos and stories. I hope to be able to share them with you in a few days. One of the techie wins for me on the trip was successful use of a GPS tracker to geotag photos. I am working on marking locations which we visited in Google Earth as well.
Next week, Nicole and I will travel to the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference as part of a delegation from the Kansas West Annual Conference. This trip was first announced in this article from the Kansas West website – Local churches invited to support Zimbabwe partnerships. On the trip, I hope to build relationships with the people of Zimbabwe, listen to stories, look for opportunities in ministry and pray continually. One of the key questions, that was affirmed by a conversation today with the Director of Mission Minstries at Resurrection today is this:
How might a partnership be formed with the outcome of healthier local churches in both Zimbabwe and Kansas?
I had a great time with some amazing youth last week. 48 students and 12 adults traveled from Resurrection to Lake Charles, Louisiana on Wednesday, July 8 and arrived back in town on Tuesday, July 14. I had the privilege of building relationships with both students and adult leaders. Out of the many things that I experienced, here are a couple great things:
- People that care have an amazing ability to self organize and get things done. I witnessed this at both the work site where I served and among the entire group. These students care about serving God and being in relationship with others.
- There is a nearly unlimited potential for each of these students. As life goes on, each of us has the chance to say yes to some things which means saying no to other things. For each of these students the future is wide open. There are very few things which might not be possible for any of them. There are students with whom I had the privilege to be on the trip who have clear gifts for ministry. I am excited about the future for them.
I was anxious before the trip as it was the first mission trip on which I had served as a leader. It was also the most significant leadership that I have had with students at Resurrection. The trip was amazing for me and a highlight of the year. Thanks to each of you – students and adults – who contributed to the experience. It is an honor to serve Christ with you.