“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” ? C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Every church has a vision and mission. When we identify our vision and mission, it focuses our influence and resources to take us where we want to go. Our vision at Northstar is to help the whole world find and follow Jesus. It just makes sense for us as a church to have a vision for where we want to be in the future and a blueprint to get there. It also makes sense for each of us who are followers of Jesus to have a personal mission or vision statement.
A what Marty? A Personal Mission Statement answers the pivotal question: “When you get to the end of your life and look back, what would define for God and yourself a life worth having lived?” It’s the reason for why we are here and the foundation for evaluating all our future priorities and plans.
Yes, it sounds complicated. And yes, it can sound a little cerebral, especially for newer Christians. But if you break it down to its basic components, it is simply the small steps you will do to get you to your desired destination. If you know where you want to be on your spiritual journey in a few years, start with the small step(s) that will get you there. St. Francis of Assisi gave somewhat of a personal mission statement when he said, “In all things go and preach the gospel, and if necessary use words.” An example of a vision statement: “To become the fulfillment of what we are called to be through Christ, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and by Grace through Faith.”
If you don’t have personal goals, it doesn’t mean you’re not accomplishing some very good things in your life. Most of us are serving God and others, trying to raise our children right, working in a meaningful job, volunteering in our churches and communities, giving, and worshiping God. In short, trying to be good citizens and good Christians. But are we using our gifts, our influence, our time as well as we could be to glorify God and further His kingdom? And if not, how do we do that and where do we start?
Think about it in this way. We want to build a new church in Kui, Kenya. We would begin with the most important objectives in mind first. What do the members and attenders want and need? What do the members and attenders want their new church to look like? Will it work for them 25 years from now? What are their resources? What can they afford? Then we begin with the end in mind. Once the members and attenders have given us an idea or vision for the church, we can work with an architect to begin work on the more specific details to make the dream a reality.
We, you and I belong to God. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it, but God owns you and me. As you let God reveal to you his design for your life, you’re letting God be both the member and architect, and will guide you as you put your personal mission statement on paper.
Let me give you an example.You are a newer Christian, so in the next year your main goal and point of emphasis is to be consistently faithful in praying, having quiet time with God for your devotions and serving in some capacity at the church. The barrier to doing those things is finding the time. You have a lot going on these days. You could just jump in and wing it. That is often a recipe for frustration. A better option or first step may be to become better at time management. Take a class. Read a book. Pray and seek God’s help in making time with Him a priority. God may want you to just jump in and by doing so, it could change your life. But if not, having a plan to achieve your objective may be the best option.
On Sunday, I asked you to think about and decide on the one word that will guide you in 2015. That one word would be part of your Personal Mission Statement. I will discuss the one word in the devotional tomorrow.
1. Do you have a personal mission statement or the idea of one? Do you think it is important? Why or why not?
2. How might a personal mission statement make a difference in your life?
3. Jesus gave several mission-type statements throughout his life.For example.”For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10. How should these statements and others (Luke 19:10; John 12:47; Luke 19:10) affect our personal mission statement?
4. Would you be interested in hearing more on this subject?