Belong. Believe. Become.
When you plant a church you need a name, a mission statement, a vision and values. Early on we nailed the name, vision and values and have been doing a pretty good job living into them. But that mission statement thing ("to make Jesus famous in Wyoming, MI") was sort of a work in progress at best and kind of generic/ nondescriptive at worst.
Monday night during Mission Equip, our monthly ministry leadership event, our group chewed on the mission, vision and values of Elevation. All of it was embraced...except for that mission statement.
After some good conversation about what we think we are here to do, Brandan said, "ya know, those '3 B's' pretty much sum up our mission." I looked around the room and it was clear that we had our new mission statement: Belong. Believe. Become.
I'm sure there are 20 other churches that use that too (that sort of thing obviously didn't stop us from using "Elevation") but, honestly, it's what we're all about so deal with it.
We say it from the pulpit, it's on our signs, it part of our logo: You belong here. Our hope is that we provide a place, a family and refuge, where anyone can belong and be accepted, loved and encouraged. We've done this.
We love our City and serve our friends and neighbors. As we walk with people through their struggles we point them to the cross and the gospel has changed people. We've seen people believe who didn't believe. Often, that consistent and intentional investment in their lives has helped them see the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. Giving people their first bibles, helping them read and understand it, leading them through the tough questions, that's what we do!
Behavior is the fruit of belief. Once we exchange the belief in lies for truth, our behavior can change. Often that takes time. And that's okay. The ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer is not a linear path from messy to unmessy. It's often two steps forward three steps back. And that's okay. But Elevation is here to help believers become what God intends: to “become conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). This could take a lifetime but we're all about equipping the saints for ministry, developing leaders and creating disciples who make disciples.
So there you have it. In most cases the mission statement drives what we do. In our case, what we do is summed up by the mission statement. And that's okay.