What is God’s mission?

by Wayne Schwab

Need a fresh and still biblical way to describe God’s mission?

God is on mission to make the world more loving and more just.

Wherever we meet love or justice, we are meeting God at work.

Wherever love or justice are weak or missing, God is at work to bring them.  Look around.  You will see signs of God at work somewhere, somehow.

Read the biblical story that way.  As the story unfolds, we are slowly getting the message that God does not want violence; God wants love and justice.

So, love at home but also be sure that you are fair with each other.

So, be just and pay fairly at work.  Pay fairly because you know and love your co-workers.

Seek to be loving and just and you are already part of God’s mission.  Open “eyes of faith” and see God helping you to love and to be just.

What’s the church here for, anyway?

by Wayne Schwab

I was the interim pastor in a small church in Essex in upstate New York on Lake Champlain.  For some reason, Essex hosted meetings of the International Bagpipe Organization.

A piper walked through the church hall.  He asked, “What’s the church here for anyway?”

I answered, “God is most interested in how we live Monday to Saturday.  Sunday is to help us to do it better.”

He liked the answer.  I’d been thinking this way for some time.  At last I had said it.

That’s a key to living God’s mission every day – especially to what a church should be doing.

We say a church needs to be friendly and open to anyone who walks through its doors.

— I now say a church really needs to help everyone walking through its doors to live better on Monday because they were there on Sunday.

We say a church should offer community – very important in a world that can be very lonely.

—  I now say a church really needs to help you to build community in your worlds outside the church.

We say a church needs vitality – to be alive within its walls and alive in its town or city.

— I now say a church really needs to be known for how its members are making the world around them more loving and more just wherever they are 24/7/365.

Writing a mission statement?

by Wayne Schwab

Are you writing your church’s mission statement?  Don’t begin by asking everyone to describe what they want the church to be doing; drawing together all the responses; and presenting them to the church for approval; and filling up many meetings and many weeks.
What’s more, it’s the wrong place to start.  It’s centered in us.  Start with God and God’s mission.  Look for what God is up to in the world you see around you. Ask the church and each member.  Work from the biblical narrative – the prophets’ call to justice; Jesus’ call to love as well as justice; the gift of the Spirit to everyone.
So, begin with God’s mission to make the world more loving and more just.  Jesus came to live God’s mission for all to see. Your church’s mission is to continue God’s mission in Jesus Christ to make the world more loving and more just. In baptism and reaffirmation of faith, each member joins Jesus’ mission to make the world more loving and more just.