The initial phase of my ministry with you is just about complete. This past Sunday the Board blessed the work of the Search Committee, giving credence to a fresh mission/identity statement. The statement and its supporting values represent the information gleaned during the Cottage Meetings in October and
November of last year. You will receive your copy soon.

Someone asked me, “How is this statement going to benefit the church?” That is a very important question. First, it could have little affect if it is left lying on a shelf of the pastor’s office. That happens with the results of much strategic planning, sad but true. However, if your leadership uses the document, it will focus the congregation for the foreseeable future.

How? First, it will serve as a means of informing ministerial candidates of who you are and what you wish to accomplish in ministry and mission. The statement is the 4” brush: painting wide strokes that talk about your dreams and hopes for FCC. The candidates for the settled pastor position want to know “where you want to go”, and this document provides them that direction.

It’s not just for the candidates that are being interviewed, though. It is a tool for you and the congregation’s leaders. It will provide a framework for designing a new church structure that is nimble and responsive to opportunities of ministry and mission. FCC needs to redesign its governance and service structures to be faithful and effective. Your identity/mission statement will ground the work of developing a system of governance and staffing that makes good stewardship of your time and resources.

Finally, the document will serve as a filter as you consider both new and existing program and ministry. Your church is not so very different from most: A committee assess that the congregation must grow. So what do they do? They explore the great variety of evangelism programs on the market, make  selection and buy the materials, then try to figure out who is going to organize and implement the new program. Sound familiar?

What if that committee used the identity/mission statement and its support data to establish criteria for why growth is important and how best to accomplish that, then found persons with passion to develop and implement a ministry to meet those ends? It is a new way of thinking about your church, but one which seeks to do authoritative mission and ministry that is focused and true to who you are becoming.

Well, there’s your “teaser.” Watch for your copy of the mission/identity statement. Be sure to tell Dan and members of the Search Committee how much you appreciate their work. Their work has been faithful. Most important, this is your document, your statement. Give it legs and life. Memorize it. Share it with your friends. Make it your own.

Pastor Mark