A Question of Values

The Church Council of Our Saviour spent a weekend in retreat this past summer to determine the present and future direction of our ministry.  Starting with the mission statement derived several years ago, the Council engaged in prayerful conversation about how to fulfill our mission in Southern Pines and beyond. The mission statement of Our Saviour is: To activate the kingdom of God with integrity, by educating, engaging and responding.  The purpose of the Council retreat was to determine the core values that will direct our decision-making.

The Church Council selected five key values that will guide our ministry.  The five values are:

As a congregation we will be guided by the value of Word-centered worship. Within the Lutheran theological tradition, we understand the Word of God to have various aspects that all point in one direction. We believe and teach that the Word of God is the Written Word or the holy scriptures. At the very heart of our worship is the witness of the Bible. But we also believe and teach that the Word of God is also the Spoken Word or the preaching and teaching of law and gospel.  We also believe and teach that the Word of God is the Visible Word or the sacraments of baptism and holy communion where we meet the means of grace. We also believe and teach that the Word of God is the Missional Word, namely the called out people of God or church whose purpose is to share the Word in speech and action. All of these expressions of the Word of God point in the direction of the Living Word which is Jesus Christ Our Saviour and Lord.

As a congregation we will be guided by the value of discipleship amongst those associated with our ministry. According to Jesus' last discourse in the gospel of John, a disciple is someone who chooses to follow Jesus.  Following Jesus implies more than a mental ascent to believe something about Jesus. It involves every aspect of a disciple's life, their mind, body and soul. It touches every aspect of a disciple's life, including how she uses resources, relates to other people and to God. To be a disciple involves more than church attendance and religious activity. It is a matter of the losing ones life for the sake of the gospel to live fully in the Kingdom of God.

As a congregation we will be guided by the value of relationships both within the gathered community of faith and outside the community of faith. Since faith is all about relationship, first with God and second with neighbor, this value will lead us to place a priority on bringing people together and introducing them to each other and to Jesus Christ. Every aspect of our ministry will be designed to support and encourage growth in relationships, both with people we already know and those we we will know in the future.

As a congregation we will be guided by the value of training and empowering lay leadership. When God called the church into being, he called some to be pastors, but God also called lay people of every known vocation to be leaders for the sake of the gospel. Every Christian by baptism is called to a holy vocation as a member of the Body of Christ. The professional ministers of Word and Sacrament are called to equip the saints for the work of ministry.  Our commitment to grow the core of lay leadership in our community is a part of our fulfillment of the larger missional call of the church.

As a congregation we will be guided by the value of community relevance.  As a church we are called to be in the world but not of the world. What that implies is that we are to be a people engaged in the community in which we live. We exist as a community of faith not for our own purposes only but to engage the community around us with the liberating work of God. There are myriad ways in which we as a congregation will rise up to accomplish this in relevant ways. This implies meeting the community where it is instead of requiring the community to come to us and to meet us where we are. It implies going beyond the walls of the sanctuary to be a modern church of relevant ministry.

Guided by these five core values, we as a congregation will clarify our priorities and put our hearts and souls behind our mission.  The fulfillment of this mission will require the participation of every member of our assembly. Gone are the days when we can assume someone else will do our part in activating the Kingdom of God.  Each one of us has a part to play guided by the five values just stated.

Two weeks ago, I began a sermon series on Living Kingdom Values.  This series is designed to bring the values described above into our worship where we may embrace the path of our future with the prayerful help of the Holy Spirit.

As we embark on this newly clarified direction in our ministry, I hope you will join us, support this ministry, and celebrate with us the activation of the Kingdom of God in our midst.


Pastor Frank

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