Vision: worship, word & witness

The following is a pastoral vision cast on March 30, 2016:

 "As you are going into the world make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all that I have said to you, and I will always be with you.”    (Matthew 28:18-19). 


 

A VISION FOR WORSHIPING GOD 


  • I see a body of believers in Christ who are enthusiastic and intentional about making an impact for the kingdom of God in this community by every member being equipped to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  


  • I see members actively sharing information about the church’s ministry, starting fellowship groups to invite friends over to meet their church friends, and simply being the presence of Christ around the area. I see each believing member using his or her spiritual gifts to build up the Body of Christ, and I see them giving consistently and sacrificially.


  •  I see a comprehensive and full time Ministry of Worship and the Music Arts for all age groups of the congregation. Music is a key factor in the equation of congregational growth and retention of membership, not to mention a significant means to bring glory to God.  Music permeates our society and is so much a part of the language of love, comfort, enthusiasm, and peace. I see choirs and ensembles both vocal and instrumental from preschoolers to senior adults enhancing worship, drama teams bringing a new dimension to the worship experiences by providing another creative means to present Gospel truth.


  • I see the renovation and expansion of present worship space, keeping the general architectural style in place affirming the township's history as well as the church’s legacy.  I see adequate space and facility for 400 plus worshippers in multiple services as well as additional educational and small group spaces with enclosed access between buildings.


  • I see the congregation debt-free in less than 10 years. This may sound like an ominous task requiring unbelievable major gifts to retire a debt of $2.2 million. Large figures about debt can really deter our understanding of the possibilities. Consider this: If 200 givers gave an additional $38.47 per week for five years $2,000,440 would be raised.  


A VISION FOR TEACHING THE WORD


  • I see needs-based Bible studies, organized weekly-programmed Bible study opportunities, and neighborhood Bible study outreach groups excelling in the interpretation and application of the teachings of Jesus Christ.  I see teachers and facilitators so committed to their calling that their participants are drawn to their passion in such a way that the common view of organized Bible studies is no longer a “take-it-or-leave-it” scheduled item.  I see teachers and facilitators trained in multiple ways of presenting the biblical text to their groups. I see all Bible study groups building and offering community around the Word of Christ, swelling in participation, and witnessing the transformation of lives. 

    I see a premier full time Ministry to Preschool and Children and their families in which the congregation enthusiastically invests in the nurturing of all children of the church and the community in order to show the love of God and to build in them a foundational understanding of Jesus Christ.  I see a congregation loving children with activities saturated with Christian values, willing to do whatever is necessary to provide the means for them to be involved in a healthy church.  I see parents invested in these ministries, offering their input and time by rotation, assisting those committed teachers and workers rather than viewing and treating children’s ministry as mere childcare.


  • I see a Ministry to Young Adults that gives young adults – single, divorced, couples – who are starting their careers or transitioning in their careers a sense of "a home away from home."  A transitional population gives opportunity for assisting, encouraging, and ministering to that populace who wants to find community, belonging. Further, I see the Ministry of Preschool and Children and the Ministry to Young Adults providing needs-based opportunities for learning and encouragement about issues specific to parents of young children.


  • I see a dynamic, regional Ministry to Students providing a comprehensive theological and “laboratory” experience in developing life skills that involves an understanding of how Christ has a role in their social and emotional health. I see a youth ministry cadre that serves as a central location and resource for the networking of students from around the state with our students for their annual mission trips, giving them missional opportunities while benefiting our city and our county.


  • I see a Ministry to Older Adults as well as a Ministry from Older Adults.  I see older adults being embraced by a congregation that appreciates their service and wisdom and supports opportunities for them to enjoy community and fellowship.  But, I also see older adults of the congregation providing a ministry of tremendous insight for a growing congregation, sharing their experiences of life with others, participating in the leadership of the congregation because they have denied the trend of no longer serving (the “I’ve-done-my-time” thinking) while being wise about the pitfalls of generation gaps.  I see older adults understanding those younger than they in order to offer them good counsel and direction by modeling partnership in the Gospel by joining them in those “younger endeavors.”


A VISION FOR WITNESSING TO THE COMMUNITY


  • I see a Ministry to Men and a Ministry to Women focused upon life encouragements and mentoring. These ministries are beyond a program or ecclesiastical gathering and involve various methodologies for fellowship around the Scriptures, broadening relationships through recreation and other activities, and providing opportunities of service to the community.  The primary goal for these ministries is to free up men and women to be mentors and to benefit from the various life experiences of others. Various special needs envelop adults and their families, and networking with other adults of like situations will be a benefit. I see men and women blessing one another and being more confident about their lives, becoming the men and women the Lord intended.


  • I see a Senior Adult Day Care Ministry providing safe care for aging parents and family members of the community, assisting them in keeping older adults active and a part of society, honoring their failing years and providing an environment of friendship and joy.


  • I see a congregation being a good neighbor by serving as a “community resource center,” enriching the community through seminars, conferences, concerts, clinics, and other activities that address needs within the community such as; Christian marriage, family dynamics, parenting, divorce, grief, employment skills, etc. I see a church using its facilities as a disaster relief center, working closely with local relief and benevolence agencies.


  • I see a Missions Endowment and a Facilities Endowment providing funds in perpetuity for the mission initiatives of the congregation and the ongoing maintenance and capital improvements of all facilities of the church.  These funds would come from benevolence gifts, trust funds, special gifts, and memorial gifts. I see congregants and guests using these endowments to continue their Christian witness in giving long after they have graduated to heaven.


  • I see a missional congregation; that is; a church consistently investigating and evaluating ways to coordinate with other groups and agencies in the area to meet human need, but also interested in developing missional partnerships with other churches or groups within our state and in other parts of the world.  I see a congregation growing to designate 25% of its tithes and offerings for missional partnerships locally and abroad. 


          Larry Harper, D. Min.

          Senior Pastor

It should be noted that this “Great Commission” was given after the disciples worshipped Jesus.  The text says, “When they saw him they fell down and worshipped him.” Worshipping God in Christ is a primary privilege and function of the Christian Church.  Worship is vital for the spiritual growth and expression of the believer.

Also, within this commission there is the emphasis of making “disciples” and “teaching” obedience to the Lord.  The proclamation of the Word of God finds expression in our worship, but we also seek to teach the Word in our various groups of adults, youth, and children. 

The phrase, “as you are going” is Christ’s anticipation of his Church.  His followers by their living are to bear fruit by magnifying the good news to “all nations.” Our witness includes mission initiatives as well as our personal story of Christ’s love and forgiveness and how his presence affects our living.

This is the mission of the worshipping church: to make disciples, teaching the words of Christ and witnessing the grace of God in Christ so that those who hear us will have the opportunity to choose to be forgiven and to become a child of God. 

WORSHIP | word | witness