As we look to the future it is important to re-engage with our past, build a bridge to the future, and define where it is we intend our journey to take us.
To bring people into a personal and growing relationship with Jesus
This purpose statement answers the most fundamental question of all—why do we exist as a church? Why do we open our doors every Sunday morning? The clearest answer to the why question is to be found in some of Jesus’ final statements to his disciples. These words are not just words spoken to his 12 disciples, but are spoken to all of his disciples in every age and in every land. They are spoken to us in the Journey Church on the Common today.
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matt. 28:18-20
Jesus command is to make disciples. A disciple is someone who has entered into a personal relationship with Jesus and is learning to follow his teaching. Our command is to go to where the people are and introduce them to Jesus. That is the sole purpose for why the church exists. See also Acts 1:6-8; John 17:20-23.
Our goal as a gathering of God’s people is to bring new life and renewal by creating an environment where unchurched people feel comfortable and at home, where individuals and families become excited about growing into strong followers of Jesus, and where we are committed to selflessly serving Chelmsford and the surrounding communities.
This vision statement answers the question of where are we going. It is our aspiration for what we hope to look like in the future; it is what we are working towards in all we do. It is the hoped for outcome of our purpose and mission statements.
This vision statement incorporates three desired outcomes. But before we talk about those, notice that our vision statement did not use the word “church”. In our culture and often in our minds as Christians we think of the church as a building and a location. In the Bible the church is people; it is a gathering of people with a common faith in Jesus Christ. People are most important to God, not the building.
Our first desire is to “create an environment where unchurched people feel comfortable and at home”. Let’s be honest. Do you think a person who has never been a part of a church would feel comfortable walking into our service on a Sunday morning for the first time? Probably not. What we do right now as a church is primarily designed for those who are already Christians.
Paul addresses this issue in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.”
Our second desire is to be a gathering of people where “individuals and families become excited about growing into strong followers of Jesus.” Our desire to follow Jesus should not be viewed as just a burden, obligation or religious duty. Jesus said in John 10:10, “I come that you may have life and have it abundantly.” Jesus wasn’t saying there that our lives will be easy and free of difficulty. He came to give us a sense of peace, wholeness and contentment in life no matter what is going on around us. That should be a cause for joy and excitement.
Our third desire is that as a church we would be “committed to selflessly serving Chelmsford and the surrounding communities.” That is what Jesus did and as his followers we are called to the same task. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45.