David's Letter for July & August

Dear Friends,

In Proverbs 29:18, we read: Without a vision, the people perish. (KJV)

At our last church council meeting, the church council adopted a vision statement and a mission statement for Moor Lane Methodist Church.  

Our vision is: “Christ known in every household.”

Our mission is to be “An Effective, Visible, Sustainable, Christian Presence.”

Very few of us will make it to the North Pole. However, should we want to travel north, our compass will use the direction of the magnetic North Pole to guide us north. Our vision statement is a bit like that. We may not achieve the aim of making Christ known in every household, but if we use that aim to give us direction, we may find that Christ is known in some households due to our efforts.

You may be surprised that the church is not mentioned in our vision statement. That is because our whole aim in being a church is not focused on the church but in bringing about the Kingdom of God in Crosby. Our vision is not about ourselves, but the community in which we live. It expresses a desire for our neighbours and friends to discover the joy of a relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and all our efforts should be expended to that aim.

Our mission statement is an expression of how we intend to fulfil our vision. We do so by being an effective, visible, sustainable Christian presence in Crosby. We are effective by fulfilling our calling of worship, learning and caring, service and evangelism. Our worship reminds us of whom we serve and directs us to look ever to Jesus as our Saviour and Guide. Our learning and caring are part of our discipleship in building us up as a loving and inspiring Christian community geared to mission. Our service enables us to introduce ourselves to the community, not as people wanting to take but rather as people wanting to give. All these things aim to prepare us for mission into our community, looking not so much towards ourselves, but more towards those who don’t know Jesus yet.

In calling us to be effective, our mission statement challenges us as to how effective our activities are at preparing us for mission or carrying mission out. It is a question that we must ask ourselves time and time again: How effective is what I am doing?

Does the Bible Study transform my thinking and my actions, or does it just satisfy what I consider to be my spiritual needs? Does my worship give me a deepened understanding of God and his love for the world? Does our fellowship build us up spiritually, or is it the same kind of friendship that I could find elsewhere?

Jesus said that no one lights a lamp and hides it under a bowl. Therefore, we must be visible. How often have we heard the comment: “I didn’t know there was a church there.” We are called to be like a city on a hill, a lamp on a lampstand, visible for all to see. Our mission statement challenges us on our visibility.

How sustainable are we? Each year, we report a deficit and a reduction of our reserves. It would be very easy to follow the third servant who took his talent of silver and buried it in the ground so that it is kept safe. That got short shrift from the master in Jesus’ parable. Sustainability that stifles our effectiveness in fulfilling our calling is a false effort. Rather, we need to be using our resources to develop new ways of being church that become sustainable just as new growth sustains a plant. Our mission statement challenges us to our husbandry of our resources.

Finally, we are called to be a Christian presence in our community. That means that we are continually looking outwards, knocking down the metaphoric walls between ourselves as a church and our community. It means that we as individuals living out our individual calling in our neighbourhood become a Christian presence in all that we do.

Our vision points us away from the church itself to the community in which we live. Our mission statement seeks to follow that vision by equipping us and enabling us to live out that vision.

We hope and pray that each one of us may embrace this vision and work together to be the people of God, called by God to fulfil his mission to the people of Crosby.

I hope that you have a great summer break, coming back refreshed and renewed for what promises to be an exciting and challenging year as we join with our fellow churches in the circuit to be the people of God, working for his glory.

David