The mission of the church never changes, though during the 26 years since I entered the ministry, church leaders have struggled to define how we accomplish it. Google 1,000 church websites and you’ll likely find 990 vision statements or lists of core values.
We’re all trying to apply the gospel to a specific ministry context, and it changes rapidly.
This month Jo Anne Lyon, the newly elected general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church, in which I serve, unveiled seven key values (or emphases) that she believes will move the church into the future.
Lists like these tend to have a short shelf-life because the context changes continually. But I think these emphases are timely. They fit my personal mission, to know Christ and make him known, and will serve any church well for the next several years. Here they are in bold with a comment or two of my own.
1. Christian leaders leading authentic Christian lives. Now, perhaps more than ever, integrity matters. You need to be the message.
2. Believers filled with the Holy Spirit. Where’s the power? This is the question many people are asking about the church. What difference does your faith make? Where’s the life change? More than intellectual defenses of the faith (though not in place of them) we need the power of the Holy Spirit.
3. Ethnic diversity. I live in a predominately White suburb, but the minority population here has doubled in the last 10 years. Numbers are similar elsewhere. To reach our communities, we must reach people are different from us.
4. Urban urgency. Most people live in urban areas, and the percentage is growing. Cities are where the action is.
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