Vision (part 1)

Vision: A community united with God in the renewal of all things through Christ.

This past Sunday (10/20) we began a three week series about our vision, strategy and values.  And while we hope that these messages are super-duper-amazing, we know that we can’t cover it all in 30 minutes.  That’s why we’re writing this post.  It’s not only a chance to tease out the ideas shared on Sunday, but we hope it will also spark dialogue — that you’ll comment below — or even better — set up a time to have coffee.

Ok.  This week: vision.  Andy broke this statement into four parts on Sunday (if you missed it, please listen here).  I want to break it into two.

A community united with God = covenant

This past spring we spent a fair amount of time talking about two themes we see woven throughout Scripture: Covenant and Kingdom.   I don’t want to consider all that those two words hold here, but I do want to remind us that they are absolutely foundational to understanding our place in God’s story.  And so as we considered our vision for the future, we wanted to ensure that these elements were present.  Let’s start with covenant.

“A community united with God…”   From the start we are reminded that our vision is rooted in togetherness.   No one is expected — or meant — or able — to ride solo.   Yes, God works through our individual lives and obedience — but at the end of the day, following Jesus isn’t sustainable alone.  There’s no way around it, we need each other.   Now…let’s hit the pause button for a moment because we all know this is true.  We’ve heard it before and it probably resonated.  But what is also true is that every day we are pulled by life’s demands and culture’s influences towards an isolated life.   Have you ever found yourself there?   I have.  One day it suddenly hits you: except for maybe an hour on Sunday morning, you’re pretty much following Jesus alone.  And it’s not that you intentionally choose that path — but here you are.  Doing the best you can to follow Jesus, but doing it alone.

Now…will a vision statement magically help us live lives in covenant with each other?  No.  But we do hope it serves as a clear and constant reminder of who we are called to be.  That it will call us back when we wander out alone.

Our covenant with each other is central to following Jesus.  But it is only possible because of God’s covenant with us.

Our church’s vision (shoot…our very lives) finds its beginning in our identity as God’s covenant children.  We are daughters and sons.  You are a child of the King, and nothing you can do, or not do, will change that.  You are firmly in God’s grasp.  No. Matter. What.   And because you are a member of God’s family, God invites you to join in the work God is doing.  Let me say that again.  God invites you to join in the work God is doing (more on that tomorrow).  And you did not receive this invitation because of something you accomplished or because of your stunning good looks, but simply because of who you are in Christ.  You are a child of God.

If the Branch is going to see this vision become a reality it will begin with us remembering who we are and who we belong to.  We are a community united with God.

Tomorrow, we’ll hit Kingdom.  Until then.