Connecting Mission and Vision
by Pastor Ted
You know, writing as a pastor, it really is great to be a part of growing congregation like Zion. There is renewed enthusiasm and excitement about our congregation and the mission that God has given us. I can tell that you, the members, are excited and proud of our church. I can tell that we are proud of our building, proud of our programs and proud of our mission. I can tell that because we are inviting others to church. Just last week a family came up to me on Sunday morning and said, “Pastor Ted, we want you to meet our friends. They are coming to church for the first time and they are going to sit with us. They aren’t here yet but we want to make sure you meet them.” Friends, family, neighbors, they are all being invited. That is a strong sign that you like your church and are excited about what we are doing. What are we doing that has people excited?
We are diligently striving to help people understand that God loves them, and that God can help them change their lives. For infants and children, for youth and adults, life is better with God’s loving presence. Demographics tell us that literally tens of thousands of people in this geographical area still do not know that God loves them. Tens of thousands have no idea that God cares about how they experience life. Hurting hearts, brokenness, lack of direction, meaningless moments and hopelessness still occupy the lives of many of our neighbors. One part of our mission at Zion Lutheran Church is to witness to the people in our area about God’s great love for them. Our mission statement says it this way, “To share Christ’s word.”
To share Christ’s word – there are many ways we do that. The primary way is through our Sunday morning worship services. On Sunday we celebrate God’s word through the spoken word, the message for the day and through the music that is sung. We also share Christ’s word through the words we speak in the service and the passages of scripture that are read. Sunday morning at Zion is about worshipping God, but Sunday morning is also about sharing Christ’s word with as many people as we can.
Celebrating on Sundays – our first vision initiative – is also about sharing Christ’s word. The work of this initiative is designed to make us as effective as we possibly can be at sharing Christ’s word on Sunday mornings. Celebrating on Sundays is about making our church accessible to those who do not yet attend Zion, making sure everyone knows they are invited to Zion. This initiative is also about making our lobby area a warm, welcoming place for the first time visitor and the long time member. It is about making ourselves better at all of the ministries that support worship, like ushering and communion preparation – all those ministries that support our worship services. Everything that happens on Sunday morning either makes us more effective or less effective at sharing Christ’s word.
Celebrating on Sundays is actually an effort to bring the enduring mission “To share Christ’s word” to bear in this time and this place! And that is why God has brought this church into existence! Zion was created to carry out what Jesus began, to help people in our day understand that God loves them and cares about their lives. That is why we do what we do! That is why we develop programs and ministries, teach children Bible stories and help youth understand what it means to live life with Christ. That is why we preach and make music. That is why we have a beautiful building. We do not want anyone within driving distance of Zion to go through life thinking that there is no hope, no love, no forgiveness, no joy, and no reason. That doesn’t have to happen!