This from the church newsletter (Del Rosa UMC DRUMBEAT) for March:
My Article: "The Cadence"
During the 1980s and 1990s all the rage among the churches and corporations of the United States was to find and develop a mission statement. This congregation was no different. We got together for a weekend retreat and some time to find and formulate a mission statement. From that we discovered something about who our leaders are and were and how we intended to do ministry. I want to share that mission statement with you again.
“The Del Rosa United Methodist Church is a living, growing community of faithful members of the body of Christ. We are a fellowship of active and supportive persons who minister to one another, our community, and our world. We are an inter-active, dynamic and Christ-centered congregation who are dedicated to nurturing, educating, and caring for others in Christian love and faith.”
There is little doubt about the validity of this mission statement. When we gathered last summer and fall to discern our mission and purpose here in this congregation we did some work to find out where we called ourselves to be. We did this without the help of the previous statement in front of us until the very end of our process. At the end we found that our goals and mission is still the same.
I have written on our mission statement on several occasions and I am prompted to do so again as our adult Sunday School class has completed the Purpose Driven Life and is now reading and discussing Purpose Driven Church. A mission statement is there to help us in our purpose. The purpose of the United Methodist Church is “To make disciples.” Rick Warren tells us in his books that God has a purpose for us, and that it is inherent in who we are. The mission statement of the Gospels seems to come out in Matthew 28:19, “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 everything that I have commanded you.” The command Jesus offers is The Great Commandment from Matthew 22:37-39, “37Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
So the question that comes to mind is why do we keep trying to define mission statements and purpose statements? Honestly, I don’t really know. Did Jesus get it wrong? I seriously doubt that. Is there something he left out? It isn’t likely. We have an inherent need to define with more and more accurate terms the ways to do things.
One of the insights I have had recently isn’t particularly comforting. In fact, it is discomfort laid bare. Christianity is not comfortable. If we are not yet loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and not yet loving neighbor as self, life will be uncomfortable. When we actually move out to get better at that we are going to do things that are very uncomfortable, like visiting the sick, talking with the neighbors who don’t fit in “our” neighborhoods, recognizing the prejudices we have and being laid bare before God, we are going to be uncomfortable. And when we finally do make it to that point where we are loving God and neighbor with all of who we are, then we will be uncomfortable because of the very same people, but an entirely different reason, we will, like Jesus, be heartbroken for the pain and suffering in the world.
What we do is make disciples and baptize people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, because we are called to love God with all of who we are and love our neighbors as ourselves. That’s it. There’s nothing more, and nothing less.
With God’s grace,