Apr 3, 2010

It is Great to Have a Mission (Second in a Series on Revisiting 2005 Goals)

If it is great to have a mission, then it must be greater still to have a vision by which to fulfill the mission.

A reason I press our church (FUMC, Arlington, Texas) so hard for mission is because without purpose we sooner or later end up living hollow lives—not the hallowed lives to which God calls us. As believers we make meaning from God’s grace and sharing it—not only to the world but to our own immediate neighborhood too! Our community is both near and nearer. So we offer you mission areas of either the one or two mile boundary variety. Perhaps some of our people weary of “good-deed-doing,” but those folks do not even know I have a blog so . . . .

It is hard for me to understand how one can believe in Jesus and not be in mission to God’s world and people. J. Howard Edington once said: “People who don’t believe in missions have not read the New Testament. Right from the beginning Jesus said the field is the world. The early church took Jesus at his word and went East, West, North and South.” There is a command and a direction for us.

This urgent business of mission, vision, and meaning came to me the other day when I read an on-line web article by Judy Rushfeldt. I do not know Judy or where she is from, but her words struck me as especially fitting for people like us who are in “mission.” She wrote:

Last year, I attended a seminar where the attendees were asked to define their personal mission or purpose in one sentence. Out of about a group of about three hundred people, fewer than a dozen were able to articulate a mission statement.

It’s not that living with purpose is a low priority for most of us. Research by Richard J. Leider and David Shapiro, authors of Repacking Your Bags, found that the number one deadly fear of most people is “having lived a meaningless life” (from an on-line article http://ezinearticles.com/?Writing-a-Mission-and-Vision-Statement&id=24990).


We do not need to look back in the year 2050 and say “We once had a chance to be a great church.” Rather Jesus’ command to make disciples is one we can fulfill today. We have now the opportunity to do faithful and effective ministry both as a “One Mile Mission” and as we “Go the 2nd Mile” (see Matthew 5:41). In fact we fuel our mission by our vision. This vision comes from God and Jesus who assigns us to make disciples. We are making inroads into our neighborhood. Those who passed out Easter egg publicity flyers clearly demonstrated these inroads. When not a few neighborhood folks came, we made them welcome at our Easter egg hunt and picnic. We welcomed/loved the stranger (Deuteronomy 19:19)!!!

Accordingly, as a church even if we cannot agree on every theological point of view; or even as modern Americans we cannot agree on definitions of the family, media, the arts, law, and electoral politics; we can agree that our mission is to be instrument of reconciliation as God has reconciled the world to God’s-self.

Reconciliation brings us to our mission and to our peace. We work in Russia, in Haiti, and in Africa—why not work right in our own neighborhood in Michelle’s community garden? Use your God-given imagination and seize your own mission in Jesus’ name.

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