Happy New Mission!

7 January, 2018

A very happy new year to you all.

For Christmas, I was given a high-pressure water cleaner. [image]

These things are great. They remove the filthiest grime you can imagine and restore things to their original pristine condition.

They’re also fun to use on dogs and small kids. Here’s an example of what my back wall looked like mid-job. [image] The right side has been cleaned, the left side is still dirty. You can see what a huge difference a high-pressure water cleaner makes.

In fact, it was so impressive, Daryl took one look at it and said, “I’ve got to have a go of that, too!” So I let him borrow it and he got to work.

I didn’t mind him borrowing it at all because he was cleaning my walls! But of course, the problem with Daryl is that you never know what sort of mischief he’s going to get up to with a high-pressure water cleaner. [image]

A high-pressure water cleaner is actually a good analogy for living a life in Christ. To clean your wall,

  • you need to be plugged in to electric power source,
  • you need a machine, and
  • you need water.

To live a life of faith, to receive the cleansing of God and to be born again,

  • you need to be plugged into God as our life source
  • You need Jesus who provided the mechanism for our salvation through His work on the cross, and
  • You need the Holy Spirit, described in the Bible as a stream (or jet) of water that flows out from within us.

I also noticed that even with all the right materials, I still needed the will to clean the wall, I needed a right attitude to do a thorough job, and I needed perseverance (it takes a long time to clean a whole wall).

Understanding these things, I also learned that using the materials to clean the wall can also be fun.

All the things I’ve been talking about so far – God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of willingness, maturity and perseverance – lead us to our new church mission statement, which is what I would like to reveal to you and explain to you today.

We’ve never had a mission statement before so I’d like to explain the difference between a mission statement and a vision statement because these things can get a bit confusing.

A vision statement says what we hope to achieve

A mission statement says how we plan to achieve it

Vision statements are typically a bit longer and not intended to be remembered word for word.

Mission statements are typically shorter and are intended to be remembered word for word.

The mission statement will appear on our name cards, welcome cards, signage and orders of service. You’ll hear me repeating it a lot.

Our recently tweaked vision statement is this:

By faith in Christ, we aim to see people of all nationalities in the Minoh area saved, discipled and empowered for God.

That’s what we hope to do. That’s what we are aiming to do.

The mission statement which the leaders and I have been praying and meeting about is simply this: Loving God, making disciples, blessing all.
私たち教会のリーダーたちが集まり、祈ってきているミッション信条はこれです。 神を愛する、弟子を育てる、すべての人を祝福する

This is the ‘how’ – what we do to attain the vision of seeing people saved, discipled and empowered for God.

Loving God, making disciples, blessing all. Let me explain what I believe each of these means for our church.
神を愛する、弟子を育てる、すべての人を祝福する。 それぞれが私たちの教会にとってどういう意味なのかを説明しましょう。

  1. Loving God

This is very broad. In a sense, anything we do could be seen as loving God. Singing praises, helping someone in need, cooking a meal, milking a cow – it could all come under ‘loving God’.

To understand this in the context of our mission statement, I’d like you to think in terms of direction.

Loving God in this sense means ‘reaching up’. Loving God means worshipping God in praises. Loving God means seeking God with all your heart. Loving God means reading His Word and lifting holy hands in prayer. It means humbling yourself before Him. It means calling on His Name. Think of loving God in this context as a ‘vertical activity’ – we’re reaching up to God.

Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven.
Lamentations 3:41


This is what we mean by “loving God” in this context.

  1. Making disciples

We want to see people not only come to Christ but to come to maturity in Christ.

This takes people way beyond merely finding salvation. It’s a whole new way of living and a whole new identity. It includes the teaching of Jesus that we are to deny ourselves daily, take up our cross and follow Him. And it distinguishes between receiving Jesus as a Saviour and following Him as our Lord.

When it come to the topic of making disciples, I can’t say it any better than Paul: We are

to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:12,13


There are other highly relevant scriptures that apply here:

Encourage one another and build each other up.
1 Thessalonians 5:11


We do this by using edifying speech with each other, by teaching one another, by meeting regularly in church, and by one-on-one discipleship.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2


We do this by sharing our lives with each other, giving our time to each other, and caring for each other’s needs.

All of these things are involved in making disciples.

  1. Blessing all

“Blessing all” is also very broad but this is the wording we chose to incorporate fulfilling the Great Commission to
“すべての人を祝福する”というのもまた幅広い意味がありますが、これを大宣教命令を実行することに含まれる言葉に選びました。 それゆえに、

“go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Matthew 28:19,20


We chose “blessing all” because we see our mission here in Japan, here in Minoh, in works that lead to making disciples, as well as actually making disciples. In reaching a people who have zero church history and Biblical understanding, that also means caring for the hurting, praying for those in need, and being supportive in community affairs.

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha who was known for always doing good and helping the poor. (Acts 9:36) She, too, is a role model for us as we seek to bless all and fulfill the Great Commission.

As we consider the mission of our church, we would be wise to regularly review each of the ministries we have, or each of the ministries we propose to have, in light of our mission statement, and ask, ‘What are we achieving with this ministry?’:

Is this ministry helping us to love God? Is this ministry making disciples? Is this ministry blessing others in outreach?

Most ministries will see a sizable overlap here. Small groups, for example, are primarily for making disciples, but they also encourage an expression of loving God in prayer, and they can also be used to equip for outreach and as a platform for outreach.

Understanding there will be overlap, each ministry should still have a clear goal in light of our church mission statement and should serve primarily to love God, build disciples or bless others in outreach.

It’s on my heart to also talk briefly about faith and miracles at the start of this year.

Individually and corporately, I believe very strongly that this year God is calling us on to live lives of greater faith. The righteous live by faith. God wants to work miracles in our lives this year through our ministries and through our daily living.

Let’s believe this. Remembering that nothing we do is of any value without love, let’s have the faith that God will do extraordinary things this year.

As we consider the mission of our church, we would be wise to regularly check our own hearts, too, and ask ourselves the following,

  • Am I doing this as an act of faith in Christ?
  • Am I doing this willingly and with a right attitude of love?
  • Do I have a heart of perseverance?
  • And am I doing this cheerfully, in a way that brings joy to others?