In a 2002 Dilbert cartoon, Wally hands a piece of paper to the "pointy-haired boss." The oblivious boss says, "Wally, your status report is just a bunch of buzzwords strung together." Wally responds in the next panel, "I've been giving you that same status report every week for eleven years." And in the third panel he adds, "Five years ago you adopted it as our mission statement."
That's the risk with a mission statement—that it would become a trite, trendy, and lifeless set of words that mean something at one time but die out after a few weeks of use.
Several years ago when we attempted to carve out a statement that would orient us as a church we wanted anything but a "bunch of buzzwords strung together." We wanted a biblical vision that could quickly reorient us if we got off track. One that would provide both a direction to pursue and a tool to evaluate how aligned we were to the Bible's message. One where you could quickly and memorably answer the question, what is your church about?
What we crafted isn't original. To a Bible-reading Christian it can sound as familiar as crickets in the summer. But if we can get all that is meant by these key biblical ideas, then this mission statement can help us know how close we are to being on the right track. And as anyone knows who's ever been lost, when you need to find the way home, you're not looking for the original way home: You're looking for the right way home.
To help us see again what God is asking of us individually and as a church we'll take the next three sermons to unpack the three life-directing obligations of our mission statement:
Love One Another.
Love Your Neighbor.
Our Christian lives are to be lived first toward God, then toward our brothers and sisters in the church (one another), and third toward the world around us (neighbors near and far). Likewise, our church is to be oriented first toward God, then toward one another, and third toward the world around us. We hope these sermons help you see again God's call on your life and inspire you to give all that you are to pursue it:
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the most important of all?" 29 Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' (Mark 12:28-30)