Mission Statement

Little did I know, a year ago last summer, as I worked with a talented and visionary group of presbyters on the new presbytery mission statement, that 18 months later I would be living out that mission so intimately by serving on the presbytery staff. Confessing Jesus Christ as Lord; Connecting one another in ministry; Challenging one another for mission. Confessing Brian McLaren, in his book, A Generous Orthodoxy, says that confessing Jesus Christ as Lord means that we see Jesus as master and not merely a mascot. Our human tendency is to think of Jesus as the one who will be motivating us and cheering us on as we go about our work. Instead, I hope and pray that I will be the cheerleader and motivator as we, the presbytery, do Christ’s work. Always keeping Christ first – over and above our own desires, preferences, or ways, we need to follow Christ’s desires and ways for us. I will do my utmost to live by this, and if I fall short, I hope you will challenge me to be better Connecting This is one of the major functions of my new job here – to connect. When I was in Guatemala a few years ago, I had a vision of a bridge. Not a high-speed, vehicle-only, bridge, but a bridge filled with people like a hub of a wheel, high above the normal hustle and bustle of life. I felt God’s word to me was, “You don’t need to cross the bridge, just build it.” Connecting people with Christ, connecting churches with people, connecting churches with churches, across cultural gaps, ethnic gaps, age gaps, ideological gaps – in order that we might all be better imitators of Christ – this is not only the presbytery’s mission, but my personal mission. So call me when you need or want to be connected – with another church, with a denominational resource, with a new idea in evangelism, with a new church, with a friend in Christ – and I will do my best to meet you and help build that bridge. Challenging “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and increased in numbers daily.” (Acts 16:5) Obviously, this is the goal of the Acts 16:5 Initiative: that our churches may be strengthened in faith and increase in numbers. In order to do that, we cannot be idly content with the way things are, no matter how good they seem. None of us would go to the gym expecting to be strengthened, without also expecting to be challenged. There seems to always be a heavier weight to lift or a few more repetitions. That’s how bodies grow stronger – always challenging themselves with a little more. As the body of Christ, seeking to be strengthened in faith and to increase our numbers, we must rise to the challenge of the work out. We need to identify where we are “out-of-fit”, to set goals, and to persevere in our training, and to constantly re-evaluate. That’s the role we can play for each other … to challenge each other, to hold each other accountable, to grow in faith and numbers. So … I see my new job as AGP as mascot/cheerleader, bridge builder, and personal trainer. Encouraging you, connecting you with people and resources, and pushing us to be all that we were created to be … and I invite you to do the same for me. Printed in the February 2005 issue of Connections, a publication of the Presbytery of New Covenant