Friday, September 7, 2012

Heaven in the Home

In about two weeks our faith family will launch a new vision statement for the community, hoping to usher in a new era in it's call to minister to it's surrounding community.  This faith community has done it's share of the visioning process over the last several years, hiring consultants, doing retreats ... Only to have things setback over and over by various things that happen in ministry (pastoral and staff changes, changing dynamics in the community, facility renovations, etc.).

As a staff, we decided it's time to fish or cut bait.  So we've taken the work that had been done over the last several years and the conversations we've had with our congregational family and decided on:
"... on earth as it is in heaven ..."

Joining with Christ in bringing heaven down:
  • in ourselves
  • in our families
  • in our church family
  • in our community
  • in our world
To semi-quote the words of Bob Farr in Renovate or Die, the UMC has already set our mission, that is to fulfill the Great Commission in "Making Disciples for the Transformation of the World".  The vision statement of a faith community is similar in that it takes the grand mission of the UMC and gives it context in the local church.  We've chosen to take on living out the Lord's Prayer, specifically joining in Christ's mission, the one he laid upon us, to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven down here on earth.

So how do you properly launch a vision statement in a church with three different worship services with two preachers taking on preaching duties?  We've decided to launch it as a sermon series ... With one person preaching all three services, with five different people taking a Sunday over five weeks to cover each point of the mission statement.  Our service layout on Sunday morning goes like this: 8:30 Traditional (in our small chapel), 9:00 Contemporary, and 11:00 Traditional.  Typically our senior pastor preaches at 8:30 and 11, our associate at 9:00.  With some creative planning, a preacher/speaker can make it to all three services to preach, and for five weeks, that's what we'll do.

We'll have five different speakers, and I have the great privilege to preach the second Sunday on how we can bring heaven down into our homes.  We're really going to work hard between the five speakers to coordinate and weave different threads through the whole week, so with the blessing of everyone I'll be tackling Luke 10:38-42 - Jesus in the home of Mary and Martha.  I figure I'm pretty lucky to get this day - there are a ton of examples in the Gospel of Christ actually in people's homes.  Eating, teaching, healing, hanging out - he was never far away from the hospitality of a friend, student, or family member.

Having been married for only three years, and with an 8-month-old son, my wife and I hardly consider ourselves experts on marriage.  But I will say that work hard together, have covenanted with one another, to keep Christ the focus in all we do.

With intentionality we:
  • Pray together every night
  • We eat together, at the dinner table with our little man
  • We've just begun reading scripture together every night, with a Bible-in-a-Year Challenge
  • We worship together
  • We budget together, of which a tithe is a non-negotiable element
Here's where I throw it out to you ... What do you do in your life to keep Christ the center?  What do you wish you did more of?  Knowing that our church family runs the gamut of family systems, I can't just focus on our home ... What can different family models do with intent to bring heaven down a little more?