I love the story about the late Walt Disney. When Disney World in Orlando opened some years ago, the widow of the great entrepreneur stood with one of the engineers of the expansive entertainment center, gazing at its magnificence and beauty. The engineer, in a genuine effort to honor one of our country’s greatest innovators, turned toward Mrs. Disney and remarked, “Boy, I wish Walt could have seen this!” Without taking her eyes off the sprawling playland, she replied, “He did. That’s why it’s here.”
The mission or purpose of any organization answers the question “Why?” “Why does this group, organization, association or entity exist?” The core answer is the mission or purpose statement. The church of Christ locally and universally has a very clearly-articulated mission. Jesus gave the church two critical mandates. The first was essentially relational, while the second was a task.
Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39).
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19, 20).
A disciple is a learner and follower of Jesus Christ who loves God and people, and who helps others become disciples who love God and people. Thus, the mission of the church is to make disciples (The Great Commission) who live out the supreme expression of love (The Great Commandment). An examination of Acts 2:42-47 will surface the more specific functions of worship, witness, fellowship, and instruction. However, these may be more broadly expressed under the mandate of the above Great Commission and Great Commandment. Regardless of the nature of the Christian organization, whether it is a church, a school, a mission, a relief agency, a para-church ministry, or a campus ministry, if it is a part of the body of Christ it should have the expression of a biblical mission or purpose. In this, we are all united.
However, when we seek to identify and articulate a vision – vision usually is understood as a picture of a preferred future. It is a bit more of a “what” – more than a “why” and yet it is still subordinate to Christ’s Great Commission and Great Commandment. The King James Version describes the destructive nature of the lack of vision.
Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18).
The NIV says, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.” The Hebrew work khazon in Proverbs 29:18 is variously translated ‘vision’ (KJV, NASB), ‘prophecy’ (RSV), and ‘revelation’ (NIV). What is apparent is that true vision comes from the Lord. When a vision is from God and people are motivated out of a sense of call, there is a real power and energy at work – and good things happen. There are numerous biblical examples of visionary leaders.
I have been thinking a great deal about our “Mission” and our “Vision” and I think it is time we enter into some prayerful dialogue about this for Briercrest. On August 20 we will be engaging in some critical discussions as we seek God’s vision for the next leg of the journey that Briercrest is on. Get ready!