Purpose and Mission

Let’s do some word association.  What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read the following words?

  • School
  • Winter
  • Computer

Let’s try one more

  • Church

It is an interesting word “church.”  When we say it we often mean many different things!  And that of course makes for some very interesting situations among those of us in “The Church.” 

For example some people when asked what the purpose of Church is they would say “the church is supposed to be like a family, you know – a place to belong.”  Others would say, “it’s more like a school where we learn more and more about God and Jesus.”  Some might say that “it’s kind of like a hospital where you can find healing.”  “Wait a minute,” – still others would say – “a church is supposed to be like a fishing boat, casting nets and fishing for men.”  From there it can get really confusing!  Let’s say it is like a fishing boat, does everybody fish?  Do we use nets, lines or dynamite!?  Is it always fishing season?  What’s the best lure or bait?  Should there be any bait, or should we just be in the boat and hope fish will jump in?

Or if we say it’s to be like a school – do we make the teaching interesting or just worry about accuracy?  Do we teach all levels together or separate?  When do you graduate – do you ever graduate? 

It’s no wonder there are so many denominations and different churches within denominations!

One of the things that helps bring focus to a body or group of believers are purpose and mission statements.  This is a sentence or two that helps bring answers to SOME of those questions.  We have purpose and mission statements here at Ledgerock Community Church –They are in our programs each week –but sometimes they can be hard to remember… and harder still to remember which is the purpose and which is the mission. 

Here is the “purpose statement” for Ledgerock Community Church:

To live a life devoted to God and to love all people.

A way to remember that is that our Purpose has to do with People!

And our Mission is like the Great co-mission!

How did we come up with that?  Are these just nice phrases?  No, they are actually based on teaching from the Bible:

Matthew 22:36-40 - “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

So we say it “To live a life devoted to God and to love all people.”  This is the “Great Command. “ Now of course this should or could be the purpose statement of every church – how do we apply this here at Ledgerock Church?  What does this mean in our context?

First of all “Devoted” means:  “Demonstrating loyalty, to be set apart, dedicated, ardent, and devout.”  Jesus said to love God with all we’ve got!  There is action and commitment there – this is not a passive, “Sunday morning only” kind of love.

Here are 5 ways we put this into action:

  1. We give freedom and grace to one another and understand that not everyone serves God in the same way.  It also means that our motivation behind what we do is to follow God’s directives and to bring Him glory.
  2. A life devoted to God necessitates that we understand God’s heart and purpose in the world.
  3. Loving all people is a natural result of being “devoted to God” and includes care for their physical as well as spiritual needs.
  4. We love all people by having a heart for them all, but we can only demonstrably love those we have contact with either directly or through missions.
  5. “To live a life devoted to God” is a heart matter – it’s what motivates us.  “Loving all People” is a matter of scope – we want to impact as many people as we can.

Here are a couple of things that it doesn’t mean:

  1. That we can do all the things that would be Godly.  We cannot feed everyone, share Christ with everyone, Pray 24 hours per day, etc.
  2. Loving all people does not mean saying “yes” to every need and never cutting back in some areas to help out in other areas.

Application:

So how can we – each of us apply our purpose statement?  Living a life devoted to God?  We need each other, we need commitment, and we need to examine our own hearts to see if we are still progressing toward Christ-likeness or have we stumbled along the way?

C.S. Lewis once said, “When I have learned to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my
earthly dearest better than I do now.”

....As C.W. Vanderbergh once wrote: “To love the whole world for me is no chore. My only real problem is
my neighbor next door.”

           

Let’s pray that God would open our eyes to the needs around us and show us ways that we can strategically and generously love people.


Part Two

So, we talked about our purpose statement.  The other thing that really helps churches, and all kinds of organizations, stay on target, is a Mission statement.  The purpose statement is kind of the answer to the question: “Why are we here?” and the mission statement is the answer to the question “What am I supposed to do?”

Take a look at our mission statement:

To live empowered by God’s Spirit to reach people for Christ.

Again, I think it begs the question – Where did we come up with that – is it just a nice churchy saying?  No, it too is biblical…

Matt. 28:18-20 - Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore 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 I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

What does this mission statement mean?:

  1. It presumes that we understand the Spirit, who He is, his role in our lives and how we interact with Him.
  2. It further assumes that we are relying on Him moment by moment for direction and the “power” to change a simple act into an act of eternal significance.
  3. It speaks to where we are looking for help/power/answers – from the Spirit rather than in the “flesh.”
  4. “To reach people for Christ” speaks to what our ultimate goal is.  We want to be ambassadors for Christ in our community and around the world.

What does this not mean?:

  1. That somehow the Spirit over rides our will and moves us to act on God’s will without our will playing a role.
  2. That we are somehow responsible for every person coming to know Christ.

Application:

Have we allowed the Holy Spirit to empower us – to give us the power to love others?  And what is more loving than to help someone spend eternity in heaven?

George Sweeting, in his book The No-Guilt Guide for Witnessing, tells of a man by the name of John Currier who in 1949 was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Later he was transferred and paroled to work on a farm near Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1968, Currier’s sentence was terminated, and a letter bearing the good news was sent to him. But John never saw the letter, nor was he told anything about it. Life on that farm was hard and without promise for the future. Yet John kept doing what he was told even after the farmer for whom he worked had died.

Ten years went by. Then a state parole officer learned about Currier’s plight, found him, and told him that his sentence had been terminated. He was a free man.

Sweeting concluded that story by asking, "Would it matter to you if someone sent you an important message -- the most important in your life -- and year after year the urgent message was never delivered?"  Of course it would, but this story serves to illustrate that since we have the life changing message of forgiveness through Christ, shouldn’t we be about the business of telling others?

CONTACT US

Sunday Service Info

Morning Service: 9:30-10:30
Fellowship Time: 10:30-11:00
C.R.E.W Classes*: 11:00-12:00

* Sept - May

Street Address

1515 E Camp Street
Ely, Minnesota 55731

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 128
Ely, Minnesota 55731

Contact Information

Phone: (218) 365-4890
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