On Sunday morning, January 29, after reflecting for a month of Sundays on Gideon’s calling and our proposed mission and vision statements, congregation members came forward with their stones of commitment and remembrance and publicly endorsed the mission and vision statements proposed by the Vision Committee and endorsed by the Council.
Now that our congregation has endorsed our new mission and vision statements, what’s next? We must work together to maintain the vision that we have committed ourselves to carrying out. The Council will have to prioritize the recommendations made by the Vision Committee to carry out the mission and vision. The elders, the Worship Planning Committee, and I will have to make decisions in the coming months about how our worship services should be impacted by our mission and vision. The congregation will have the opportunity to vote on future proposals that involve ministry positions and the budget.
We will keep reflecting together on the mission and vision of 12th Avenue Church. As I mentioned, the mission and vision statements will be kept before our eyes on PowerPoint slides, in the bulletin, and on our website. Our stones of commitment will remain on display in our sanctuary and will probably be put into some permanent form that will long remind us of the commitment we made to the Lord, to one another, and to the community. Council will also act soon to form a standing Vision Committee that will keep the mission and vision before the church’s leadership.
We will also continue to reflect on our mission and vision together in sermons. Soon I will be asking the congregation to share with me examples of how they already pray and serve. I will use some of those examples in future messages related to our mission “Together we love God through worship [including prayer] and service.”
I’m looking forward to exciting things that the Lord may lead us to do as a congregation as we seek to be faithful to the mission and vision he has given us. But I also expect that God will call us to do a lot of ordinary things out of obedience to him. Let me close by sharing with you some insights about God’s agenda from a blog by John Koessler:
“….God’s will, revealed through the constraints and necessities of ordinary life, have compelled me to lower my expectations. I wanted to expect great things from God and attempt great things for God. His agenda for me seems far more commonplace. This has not been easy to accept. In his book Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, Eugene Peterson recounts the story of the fourth century church father Gregory of Nyssa whose brother Basil had arranged for him to be made bishop of Cappadocia. ‘Gregory objected,’ Peterson writes. ‘He didn’t want to be stuck in such an out of the way place. His brother told him he didn’t want Gregory to obtain distinction from his church but to confer distinction upon it.’ Is this not what Christ wants for us as well? To lower our sights….? To seek the good of the small places in which he has placed us and to confer distinction upon them by serving him with humility there? The path of glory is often an obscure one. It is the way of the cross.”
Whether God calls us to extraordinary or ordinary obedience as we seek to carry out his mission and vision for us, may the Lord bless all of us as we together keep our commitment to the Lord and his church.