We've had an incredible six months as a church plant.
In late January, God opened the door for us to get our building at 2740 Van Buren St. In February and March, He brought in the funds for the building to be renovated. We saw new people come to Jesus and join our church family in April. And as I got a chance to rest and reflect in May and June, I had a desire to clarify and sharpen our vision, mission and values.
Since gathering people to plant this church in the summer of 2015, we envisioned and rallied around the phrase "God's Blended Family". We imagined a church full of diverse people worshiping Jesus together. We dreamed of hosting multi-lingual services and having conversations about racial and cultural tensions. We prayed about starting ministries that focused on justice and mercy and cared for the poor.
This is still where we are heading. But I have sensed a need to spell it out even more within the categories of vision, mission and values. This coming Sunday we're starting a new series focused on our vision, mission and values as a church.
So what are vision, mission and values? Here's how we are using these terms:
VISION is we the compelling picture of the future that we dream about that drives us forward as a church.
MISSION is what we are trying to accomplish right now in order to move us toward the VISION. It's what we are doing together today to move towards that dream for tomorrow.
VALUES are the culture we are creating and the essentials we hold onto that guide us as we are on MISSION towards the VISION.
Let me give you an example:
In May and June, our family took a 3,400 mile road trip around the country to visit old friends and unplug from life for a bit. Our VISION, the compelling picture of the future, was being with friends in various cities, enjoying conversations, eating and laughing together while getting some rest and time to reflect. That dream, though it wasn't a current reality, spurred us on to make the trip.
With the VISION in mind, our MISSION was to travel from one city to the next by whatever means possible. There were going to be challenges: traveling with three children, budgeting travel funds, staying positive when we hit traffic jams, car problems and staying on schedule. But despite those challenges, we had a MISSION to accomplish, or the VISION would never be realized.
It became apparent that we needed to create some cultural VALUES for the trip, essential things we held onto if we were going to make it 3,400 miles around the country with three kids.
We decided that we needed to keep a positive attitude no matter what. Even if our 2-year old had been screaming for an hour, being negative wasn't going to help us. But staying positive would certainly lift the mood and change the culture in our mini-van. So we VALUED a positive attitude.
We also VALUED the iPad. There's only so many books and games the kids can engage before they ask, "Can we watch a movie?" So we bought a device that would attach the iPad to the back of the passenger seat so the kids could see it. I had to take the protective case off the iPad to fit it in the display device, so whenever I walked with it I was very careful not to drop it and risk a screen crack. I also made sure it was charged and stocked with movies. We VALUED the iPad.
These VALUES helped us stay on our MISSION so we could see the VISION realized. Here are a few pics from that trip:
Over the next five Sundays, we will be exploring our church's VISION, MISSION & VALUES. During that time, I'm going to be blogging about these things as well. I would challenge you to interact with them, leave a comment, or ask a question. The more we explore and embrace these things, the more our church will become focused on who we are and what we are doing together.
In our next post, we'll give an overview of what our vision is.
Prayer: Lord, help us to grow in our vision, mission and values as a church together.