We recently re-stated our ministry’s vision after several months of praying, thinking, and discussing. It’s BIG and BOLD and captures the essence of what we’ve been working towards from the very beginning.
My goal here is to help you understand the vision so that it’s crystal clear in your mind.
Our Vision is to See All Christians Authentically Loving God and Loving Others.
Note I didn’t say all people. We are about helping Christians (and those seeking Him). We’re trying to help those that want to be helped….those that acknowledge they need help. And through our message we are trying to convict folks that they need help. We aren’t trying to go out and evangelize and get new/more people into the kingdom. We believe that will happen naturally as the result of our work, but it’s not our focus. Helping those that are already here is already a God-sized challenge. And so we are confident that God will bring people that He calls into His church. For our part, He has given us the burden of helping them once they walk through that door.
This qualifies the words that follow about loving God and loving others. Authentically means it’s real, sincere, genuine, and tangible. Going through the motions is not authentic.
the greatest commandment is to love God will ALL of our heart, mind, soul, and strength
We all struggle with authenticity now and then. We want to do so much for so many people that we quickly become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing. Or we give a little money to a good cause because it’s a whole lot easier than the alternatives. We often have great intentions, such as having a daily quiet time with our Lord, but then our busy lives cause us to lose focus and retreat from our plans.
Our vision is based on Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God will ALL of our heart, mind, soul, and strength. This means we can’t pay lip service to loving God or partially loving God. He doesn’t want our divided attention. It begs the question “What does it mean to love God?” This means to truly (authentically) worship Him, praise Him, seek to know Him, seek to follow His ways, and ultimately to obey Him. We are to align our ways to His ways. We are to change our thinking to His thinking. We are to change our hearts to His heart. We are to live in His strength, not our own strength.
This is an area that I admittedly struggle. I think we all do. I don’t put myself on a pedestal and say “look at me” as a perfect example. I’m far from it. Like the apostle Paul, I’m merely human. The question in my mind is whether as a Christian I am struggling towards that ideal, acknowledging the grace that Christ gives even in my failing attempts, or is struggling towards that ideal not even on my radar.In this sense, our vision is an ideal worth seeking after. Are you seeking after it or not? You might know OF Christ or ABOUT Christ…but do you KNOW him and LOVE him enough to OBEY him?
humbly serve one another as an expression and reflection of God’s love for us
“and Loving Others”
Jesus said that loving others was the 2nd greatest commandment. The Good Samaritan parable applies here as well. Loving others certainly includes praying for others, but it mustn’t stop there. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those we encounter, to love them in practical ways. I’m reminded of the teaching from James 2:16, “If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” We are to feed the hungry, clothe the clothe-less, and care for orphans and widows. We are to care for our families, our neighbors, as well as love those we consider to be our enemies. We are to humbly serve one another as an expression and reflection of God’s love for us.
This too is not easy. It’s so much easier to think about and serve ourselves. That’s what comes naturally. But God never suggested that we should act naturally. Instead, God wants you and I to get out of our own skin long enough to see the world through His eyes and to authentically love others.
So, our vision is to see all Christians authentically loving God and loving others. It’s an ideal worth pursuing and a calling we take seriously. Won’t you join us?