As I was preparing for our August Board meeting, I was trying to think of something to share with the people who gathered that night; something important, something that would help to guide and focus us on the true task at hand.  The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to share the Great Commission with the group.  And so, here it is, followed by a few thoughts:

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.  And behold I am with you always until the end of the age. – Matthew 28:19-20

How does a person become a disciple?  Does it happen on accident?  Does a person just wake up one morning and say, “Hey, I think I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ”?  No, of course not.  There are no accidental disciples.  We become disciples through intentional actions.  We become disciples because we have taken the necessary steps to be followers of Christ.

We spent a lot of time in July and August talking about the Journey of Faith; that Journey that all people are on in this life that takes them from non-believer to new believer to growing disciple.  The question that I often ask myself, and want people in the church to begin asking themselves as well is this: how do we, as a church, help people move through those major stages?  How can we help people be transformed by the Holy Spirit so that they ultimately become maturing disciples of Jesus Christ?

That’s an important question.  Everything that we do as a church should help people become growing disciples of Jesus Christ.  How does the work of a committee do that?  How do our Sunday school classes do that?  How does our worship service fit in?  What about any one of the many other activities we have going on – how do they help people become growing disciples of Jesus Christ?

As a church, we have a mission statement: To Welcome All, To Follow Jesus, To Change Lives & the World.  But it has to be much more than a mission statement.  Mission statements are easy to write.  I can sit down right now and write out 20 mission statements, and then I can take a file folder and tuck them away, never to be seen again.  Let’s face it, that’s what we tend to do with mission statements.  So, those three clauses have to be more than a statement; they have to be our mission.

Everything that we do as a church has to be geared towards fulfilling our mission To Welcome All, To Follow Jesus, To Change Lives & the World.  It’s more than a statement; it’s a call to action.  Dream with me for a minute.

What would Smith Valley UMC look like in 5 years if every person embraced this mission?  What would the Smith Valley, Center Grove, Greenwood, Johnson County communities look like in 5 years if every person in our congregation embraced the mission?  I don’t know exactly what it would look like, but it will be completely different.  Because that’s what God does.  He takes us from where we are to where He wants us to be.  We say we want to welcome all, follow Jesus and change lives and the world… what if we actually did?  That’s not a mission statement; that’s a mission.