By Pastor Jenna Couch Zion Lutheran Church, Jubilee
Our Mission in The World
In early July I took a class at Cal Lutheran in Thousand Oaks, California, called Executive Skills for Pastors. It was an amazing class that taught many different business type methods as applied to ministry.
The reoccurring theme throughout the week was, “How does your ministry reflect your mission statement?” Everything we learned about went back to the church’s mission statement. It was really helpful to think about the relationship between the things we do as a congregation and as people of God and how it fits into our mission statement. We learned about marketing strategies as applied to ministry and examined whether we were actually being the congregations we have portrayed ourselves to be.
Do you know what your church’s mission statement is? Does your church have a mission statement? Mission statements help guide ministry and orients congregations to who they are as part of the Body of Christ and how they portray Christ in the world.
I’m going to ask a few questions that you might want to reflect on. What are your experiences with the congregations you have been associated with in your life? What role do you see congregations playing in the community and in the world? What does mission look like to you?
These questions are questions we can be asking ourselves and the congregations we attend and serve. More and more people are reporting that they are not associated with any particular congregation and don’t attend worship services regularly. There are many reasons and factors at play in these statistics.An alarmingly high number of people attribute negative personal experiences with either members of a congregation, a pastor, or an incident at a congregation as the reason for not participating in the life of any congregation. We may not like to hear that we may have failed to portray Christ’s love to those who have attended or visited our congregations, but it is all the more reason to really study the mission practices of our congregations (and ourselves!) and figure out how we are currently doing at being the Church in the world and how we can do better. How are we, individually, adding to the mission of Christ and the Church?
There’s no such thing as a perfect congregation and the truth of the matter is, we simply can’t be all things to all people. What we can do, however, is to figure out what our gifts are and trust God to utilize those gifts in the best possible way so that we, individually and the Church, can work together to show the world God’s great love through Christ our Lord.