Pulling Together – the Mission of Orchard Community Church and the Glory of God

Imagine 2 children on the same little league baseball team.  One set of parents hopes that the coach of that team will turn their child into an all star – whether he or she has the talent or not!  The other set of parents hopes their child will be part of a team where everyone has fun, gets equal playing time, and learns good sportsmanship.  Same team.  Same coach.  Same bat and ball.  Same rules.  But vastly different ideas about what the team is supposed to accomplish.  That coach cannot possibly satisfy both sets of expectations and is in for a long season!

Orchard Community Church decided to write out a mission statement before they hired a new pastor.  They also came up with a list of Core Values to communicate what is most important to this church.  As the new pastor, I am extremely grateful for the work that was done to help the church pull together in the same direction.  Over the next few weeks I will use Wednesdays to communicate and explain the mission statement and core values of Orchard Community Church.  It is my hope that this will help us at OCC to pull together with common purpose and direction.

Mission Statement of Orchard Community Church:  We exist to make and become fully devoted followers of Christ through the renewing and transforming power of the gospel FOR THE GLORY OF GOD.

To state a mission is to live with an end in mind.  It is an expression of a hoped for destination.  This focus becomes a unifying idea that allows us to evaluate everything we do against this all encompassing mission.  The end of the mission statement is really the most important – “for the glory of God.”

Why do we exist as a church?  There is a lot of pressure on churches to make people happy.  Often people come to church to be affirmed and to feel good.  But the church does not exist for the people.  We exist for God.  Saying that everything is “for the glory of God” may seem trite or overly grand, but it is absolutely essential because it provides the appropriate direction and boundaries for everything we do.  If we reach hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands with the gospel but do so in ways that do not promote and display the glory of God then we have failed.  If we form a fellowship of close friends and families who love each other but ignore God’s glory then we have failed.

For many people, the ends justify the means.  For the church, the end is the means.  We don’t just do everything for the glory of God, it is the glory of God at work in and through us that accomplishes all things.  It is the display of God’s glory in lives lived together focusing on Him, saved by Him, and doing all things for His glory that changes other people.  It is God’s glory that demands our worship.  It is God’s glory that drives our discipleship.  It is God’s glory that should be the goal of everything we do.

God has given us everything we need in Scripture to understand how His glory is displayed among His people.  We must be students God’s glory displayed throughout Scripture so that we can pull together as a display of God’s glory in this world on His terms, not ours.

How does understanding the mission of the church first and foremost as being for God’s glory help us to evaluate what we do?  Maybe we can get some conversation going in the comments to discuss this together.

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  1. I love Piper’s quote when he says, “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him.” And then I think about Eric Liddell who said, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.”

    For God to receive the glory in the church, each individual must first be seeking to be satisfied in Him. I think this is what you mean by pulling together in the same direction- having the same desire, the same goal- to truly be satisfied in God.

    The difficulty comes in when we think that our individual gifts or joys are the most important thing. This takes the focus off of God and puts it on us. We SHOULD be seeking to develop our gifts, but we need to use them beside everyone else- for His glory. As a body, we will be most satisfied in God when each member is feeling His pleasure. No one gift trumps the rest or is the most important!

    1. Exactly. When we see using our gifts as an end itself then we get in trouble – as if the goal of the church was so that we can do what we want. But when we see those gifts as serving the greater purpose of God’s glory then we can use our gifts in the same direction of bringing glory to God.

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