Our Mission Statement claims: “We Welcome, We Worship, We Nourish, We Affirm.” As members of the Brookings Presbyterian Church, we should each pause occasionally to reflect and ask ourselves what we are doing to help our congregation fulfill our mission. In 2008 I wrote a four-edition study on our Mission Statement for The Messenger; since it has been awhile I would like to offer a quick refresher, and make a suggestion that has been on my heart for a while.
For every one of the four Mission Affirmations there is one underlying truth: for our congregation to be effective in meeting each affirmation we all need to be involved. The more each one of us is connected in some way: welcoming, worshiping, nourishing, and affirming, the richer our fellowship will be and the more impact our congregation will have in our community.
“We Welcome” - Being known as a welcoming church is something that can’t be accomplished only by the Pastor and the Growth & Outreach Committee. Fulfilling OUR mission requires that we all live it, even when that stretches us past our comfort zones. Just remember the person you welcome and befriend in your neighborhood, in town, or at church may be just as shy as you are, but when you extend your welcome you are an ambassador of our loving Lord. As I added in Sunday’s sermon, we welcome when we not only keep our doors open to anyone God would send, but also go out and invite all people in, from every walk of life.
“We Worship” - Worship is not what the pastor, musicians, and choir do - it is what we all do together as we raise our praise to God. We exist to glorify God. We can (and should) do that as individuals, but when we worship together it glorifies God even more because God created us for community and created the Church to satisfy that need, even as we reveal to the world the power of the Spirit through our unity and praise. Your participation on Sunday morning enriches our praise with your voice and prayers.
“We Nourish” – The expanded Mission Statement connects this affirmation to our need to nurture and be nurtured in an always growing faith. It has often been said that our faith is either growing or it is dying because faith that is inactive, dormant, and complacent won’t stand up to the trials and challenges of life. Just as our bodies need a steady supply of nourishment to maintain our physical health, our faith needs spiritual feeding to remain vital and strong. If we are going to be a congregation that nourishes, we must all be involved in education opportunities personally and together, both receiving so that we can faithfully recognize and interpret the work of God’s Spirit in our midst, and also and offering that nourishment to others.
“We Affirm” - “We Affirm faith by our Christian works” is a wonderful opening line to this part of our mission statement. It reminds us that whether we work through our congregation, other organized groups, or by picking up trash around town, there are countless ways to use our abilities and talents to make a difference in our community. Being missionaries for Christ doesn’t require that we travel to distant places or preach, baptize, or hand out tracts. Rather, we can be missionaries for our Lord when we let Christ’s love and light shine through us by doing loving things in his name. In Matthew 25:31-46 Jesus taught that what we do for others we do for him. Jesus also taught that people will know we are his disciples by our love for one another (John 13:35).
From the summary above you may already be thinking of some way to help us accomplish our mission as Christ’s Church; I have a specific challenge to help move you forward. Many of us may be very faithful with one of the affirmations. If you are, I would challenge you to pick another and do something that will deepen your discipleship in a different area. If you are already connected to two points of service then I would challenge you to find a third point of activity.
For example: If you are faithful about being here on Sunday morning for worship, why not add one of our study and fellowship groups both to learn and to offer your insights? We offer programs Tuesday Morning, Wednesday Morning, and Tuesday Evening; choose a way to learn or deepen your fellowship connections in BPC. Service is also important. As you seek a way to “Affirm faith through Christian works” if you don’t have some service dimension in your life, there are numerous ways to bless others and our community. At BPC you could volunteer in the office, join the choir, help with the Community Kitchen, usher or help run the projector, teach with Sunday School, or join one of our numerous committees. In our community you could let your faith bless others at Cee Cee’s, the Lions, Rotary, The Gospel Outreach Mission, Trash Dogs, Community Food Share, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, as a Tax Aide or Money Manager, a volunteer at one of our Senior facilities, or in many other ways. Affirming doesn’t have to happen within our church walls. Just go and be a light in Christ’s name and you will find your faith growing as you serve.
So once again the challenge is that you pray and look for a way to deepen your faith and connection to our mission by adding a new element from our mission statement to your life. As a congregation and as individuals there is so much we can do. As we seek to grow in faith and service, it is amazing how God will bless us and others.
Yours in Christ,