Recently I had a conversation with newcomers to Bethel who told me that upon visiting our website a happy discovery was made that our mission statement was very similar to the one at their former church. That made an encouraging impression upon them to see that Bethel was focused on the same goals as the church they had belonged to in another county in Michigan.
This reminded me how important it is to have a clear mission and stay focused on that mission. God has certain priorities for His church that are clearly spelled out in Scripture. Following those priorities is what brings health to a church. A healthy church will not attract everyone, but it will attract people who are looking for the right things instead of the feel-good things we all can easily elevate above what is needed to be healthy.
As I thought about this conversation over our mission statement I was grateful that the Elders of Bethel took the necessary time to do several things right. The process was delayed because of a number of things none of us could have foreseen, but the end result was a mission that focuses on the right things that will stand the test of time. What are these things?
A mission has to be biblical so it must be rooted in Scripture. Our mission focus says Bethel…becoming Christ-followers. That is nothing other than the Great Commission of “making disciples,” Matthew 28:19. This is what everything in the church should be geared toward. Jesus defines disciples in verse 20 as those “who obey all that I have commanded you.”
We could say that disciples are believers who are in the process of learning all that their Master has commanded and then obeying it. That’s why we call it “becoming” because no one has fully arrived and the only healthy direction for Christians is pursuing constant steady growth. Stagnation is the enemy of every believer.
A biblical mission must also include God’s means to achieve becoming Christ-followers. Here again Scripture is very clear as to what to do. First is a focus on spiritual growth through instruction and learning. Peter brought both together in the last thing he wrote to the church when he commanded “But grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” 2 Peter 3:18. Our mission says Bethel…becoming Christ-followers who grow first of all. When that comes first each believer is pursuing spiritual health. That is critical because it elevates the entire congregation becoming contagious. It also leads to the next three means of becoming Christ-followers. When Christians are growing certain things more naturally follow.
Our mission says Bethel…becoming Christ-followers who grow, connect, serve & tell. Instruction and learning occur best in relationship with other believers where the more mature can mentor the less mature. As we grow we want to use our gifts and talents to serve those in the body we are learning to love. We also develop hearts like God’s heart for lost people so we want to tell them the good news. Connecting, serving and telling make for a well-rounded, healthy church body which is what people need to be healthy individuals and families.
We can see why it is so important to stay on mission. God help us to do that very thing.
Your friend, on mission together, Pastor Brian (:-}).