Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Joy and Sorrow

What I am about to write is the official Mission Statement and Purpose for my home church given by our pastor, which he felt needed to be reiterated:

The East Side Baptist Church exists for the purpose of...

Making Jesus known to the world, encouraging true worship and study of the Word of God, and training believers in ministry and daily living to share Jesus as He is to people as they are.

The Purpose of East Side Baptist Church is to glorify God through our Worship and Witness. We are to win the lost, edify each other, enlist the saints in service, and provide an atmosphere for personal growth in holiness.

The joy of this Statement/Purpose is this:
  1. That we are to encourage true worship and study, i.e., there is a right and wrong way to do these things, not a relevant and irrelevant way.
  2. That we are to train believers in ministry, i.e., ministry is not the job of the clergy. We all have a responsibility as the "sons of God" to continue the work Jesus started long ago.
  3. That we are to share Jesus as He is, i.e., not the way we see Him, or the way that is more relevant.
  4. That we are to share Jesus to people as they are, i.e., to not be surprised that sinners are sinners, that the lost are lost, that the broken are broken. We do not try and fix people and then take them to Jesus; we take people to Jesus so He can fix them.
  5. That we are to edify each other, i.e., we do not come to this building to sit down next to strangers. We come to this building, into the presence of God, with the family of God, and we are to build each other up. There is a lot of pain in the pews that goes untouched because we think everything is supposed to be fine in church.
  6. We are to provide an atmosphere for personal growth in holiness, not your bank account, not in positive thinking, not in good manners and social amiableness, but holiness, i.e., God-likeness, a strong family resemblance to Jesus Christ (as Oswald Chambers would say).

However, the sorrow of this Statement/Purpose is this: that we even have to emphasis true worship and study, the universality of ministry, the real Jesus, reaching real people, edifying each other, and growing in holiness, is a shame. It is good to remember, but bad that we have forgotten.