As we do the Work of God, we are confronted with important questions and considerations about our jobs. Most obviously, we consider WHAT we do. That could be writing an article, editing a video, giving a sermon, whatever. But, next looms the question of HOW do we do it? What is our strategy and method? The third question is the one that is not so obvious. It is WHY do we do what we do? The answer to this question is most important because it shows the reason for our existence as a Church. The answer determines our effectiveness and gives us the energy to continue with the challenges we face and helps us persevere in them. They also help us recognize the many great resources we have (including our employees and members) as we move forward.
The Church's Mission and Vision statements reveal the answers to the HOW and the WHY. The WHY is answered by the Vision statement which reads:
"A Church led by God's Holy Spirit, joined and knit together by what every member supplies, with all doing their share and growing in love to fulfill God's great purpose for humanity to bring many children to glory (Ephesians 4:16 Ephesians 4:16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love.
American King James Version×; Hebrews 2:10 Hebrews 2:10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
American King James Version×)."
The WHY we do what we do is to "fulfill God's great purpose for humanity to bring many children to glory."
The Church's Mission statement explains the HOW we do the Work:
"The mission of the Church of God is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God in all the world, make disciples in all nations and care for those disciples."
In the Church's 2018-2019 Strategic Plan, an entirely new section called Organizational Stewardship was approved by the General Conference of Elders. In that section, five different outcomes are listed, one of which is: "Employees receive timely communication from the management team and are encouraged to share their ideas and feedback."
On Monday, we had an invigorating Focus Meeting at the home office where employees were gathered in small groups to contemplate and discuss our church's Vision Statement which encapsulates "WHY" our church exists.
This rather brief statement contains some rather weighty things to consider. How are we led by God's Holy Spirit? Are we "joined and knit together" and if not, are there things we can do to change that? Do we truly consider "what every member supplies" and are we all "doing our share and growing in love?" For certainly our Father's "great purpose for humanity is to bring many children to glory."
The goal of the exercise was to take time to really focus us on "why" we come to work each day and consider ways we can make improvements to our work culture and our effectiveness in fulfilling God's work.
Several themes started to come out during our discussions. Being responsive to being led by God's Holy Spirit means being grounded in God's Word, exercising humility and putting pride aside. To remain "joined and knit together" requires us to truly listen to each other, to avoid being judgmental and to rebuild trust. We need to continue improvements to how we communicate, what we communicate and with whom we communicate in an effort to improve our effectiveness. Showing appreciation and encouragement for what others contribute goes a long way toward building warm and loving relationships. Our message and the work we do needs to reflect God's desire to bring "many children to glory."
Throughout the next few months we will continue to conduct a series of extended Focus Meetings where we will focus more on both the Vision and Mission of the Church.
You might be interested in the questions that we posed in the small group discussions in our extended meeting on Monday that we called Unpacking the "Why":
- How do we put our opinions aside and yield to the Spirit of God?
- What impedes us from being "joined and knit together?" Are there things that we can do now to change that?
- Do you feel valued for what you personally "supply?" Are you given opportunities to contribute the skills you have to offer?
- What is currently in place that helps you work most effectively? Is there anything that could be improved upon or added?
- Are we growing in love as a home office staff, within our church, and within our community at large? What specific things can you point to? What barriers do we face?
- Are there things we do that are inconsistent with our Vision statement?
- Is the home office team conveying the vision of the Church to all our members effectively and does the message we send encourage and enable them to fulfill it?
- Are we conveying God's vision for humanity in a loving, genuine, and compelling way?
- Do we have a culture that is welcoming and loving to new believers?
- How do we as individuals fulfill the vision of the Church?
The meetings were most energizing and all seemed to be hopeful of improvements we can all make in fulfilling our vision and mission.
Inside United Podcast this week
Steve Britt and I discuss the timely subject of abortion in light of the annual "March for Life" in Washington D.C. on Jan. 22. According to the Center for Disease Control, 600,000 abortions are performed in the U.S. every year with 40-50 million around the world. Also, shocking, is the signing into law by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo a measure that allows late-term abortion—even up to the date of delivery.
Beyond Today Episode From New Studio to Air
This coming Sunday, Feb. 3, we launch our new Beyond Today studio programs nationwide on WGN America with Gary Petty's program, "Are We Living in the Time of the End?"
Festival Coordinators Conference
We will hold a two-day video conference this coming Monday and Tuesday with our Festival coordinators. We will discuss reports and summaries from last year's Feast of Tabernacles, site updates for 2019, articles, music, youth education and seminars, budgets, assistance, speaking and manpower, among other topics.
Camp Video Coming in March!
Work on the 2019 camp video is well underway. The media department hopes to make a video that showcases the fun and edifying environment that United Youth Camps provides, and to touch on the camp theme for this year: Living God's Way Today. The video will be aired in local congregations during the sermonette time in early March, and then made available online.