My recent blogs have talked about vision, mission and spiritual leaders. The vision is a picture of our ideal future. The mission is a description of the actions that are necessary to get us from where we are to the future we are envisioning. The Holy Spirit leads lay and clergy spiritual leaders toward our vision and mission.
I turn now to the first of five values which provide the framework for why we do what we do. “We are working together to create a kingdom-like environment which transforms lives and communities with urgency.”
We are working together . . . Throughout our value system we emphasize “we” as opposed to “me”. “We” includes clergy and laity, all age groups and persons with various backgrounds, ethnicities, and theological perspectives. We highly value teams and teamwork.
. . . to create a Kingdom like environment . . . We are creating a place of Christian community. Christian community is an environment where Jesus Christ reigns and where people grow and thrive in the abundant life Christ offers.
. . . which transforms lives and communities . . . The ultimate outcomes of the kingdom-like environment are changed lives and transformed communities. As individual lives are changed the entire community is affected. More than that, God’s transforming work takes place not only within the individual, but also in the community at large. One of my favorite questions when measuring the health of a congregation is, “How does this church positively affect the community?”
. . . with urgency. The Scriptures remind us of the urgent nature of the good news. For instance the Gospel of Mark frequency uses the word “immediately.” Jesus tells parables, makes statements and lives in a way that projects his sense of urgency. People, communities and the world are in need of Jesus’ transforming touch. We are convinced that the time is now for us to live out our values and move toward our vision and mission.
Has God changed your life through a kingdom-like environment? Has your family, church, workplace or local community experienced transformation? I invite you to tell about it in the comments section of this blog.
As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
North Alabama Conference