Posts Tagged purpose

Knowing Your Why, Baseball Edition

Church revitalization begins with knowing your why, your reason for existing, the irreducible minimum that everything else either supplements or, occasionally, is at odds with.

If you know your why, it’s easier to figure out what you must do, what you can do without if you have to, and (sometimes) what you need to stop doing. But it’s hard, because everyone in a church already has a why, a reason they attend church, support it financially, and participate in its community and ministries. Most if not all of those why‘s are good reasons, and most are roughly aligned with the why‘s of the other people in their church.

Probably.

But most churches don’t do the hard work of figuring out their why. If it ain’t broke, why make waves, etc. What if you figure out your why and your best friends at church have a different one?

But it’s not just churches. Major League Baseball has the same problem. (And they charge a lot more for season tickets than churches do!)

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Sharing the Life of Christ

I heartily approve of the mission statement recently adopted by our Session: “Sharing the Life of Christ.” The first reason I like it is that it’s concise. I used to work in big companies that had those horrible mission statements nobody could repeat or even knew existed, half a page of fashionable buzzwords strung together, like “strategic,” “teamwork,” and “partnering.”

By contrast, our new mission statement passes what I call the “Tee-Shirt Test”–it’s not too big to fit on a Tee-shirt. (Another simple test: which is easier to say: “our mission statement” or the mission statement itself? If it’s not a toss-up, your mission statement needs to be shorter.)

The second reason I like “Sharing the Life of Christ” is that it’s a mission statement. It tells us what we’re doing as a church. There’s a reason God put us here, and we’re doing it. Even if we fail, we’ve done our best, but hopefully, our mission statement will help us succeed.

The Bible records many places where Jesus gave instructions to his disciples. The most famous, perhaps, is the Great Commission in Matthew 28: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all I have commanded you.”

There are any number things we could be doing to fulfill the Great Commission, but, given our size and our limited resources, there are probably only a few we can do well. The entire Christian church can and should go to all nations, but if we attempted to do that as individual Christians, we’d spend our whole life in airports, and not have any time for making disciples or teaching them to obey Jesus. A mission statement helps us decide where to focus our efforts.

I’m excited to have this new tool to help us be faithful in our calling to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I hope you are too.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll let you know what I think it means for us to share the life of Christ. I’d love to hear what you think. What is “the life of Christ?” How do we share it? Who do we share it with? Let’s talk!

(Cross-posted at the Desert Hills Presbyterian Church blog.)

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