Often churches will do a lot of work to “discover” their mission. At St. John’s instead of discovering our mission we are trying to live into the mission God has given the church in the Great Commandments and the Great Commission.
In an attempt to make it simple we have three areas of focus and each area has two sub areas of focus. There may be more than this in the life of the church, but these are our priorities.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Deut 6:4-5 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. Matt 22:34-38
As a genuine community of faith, we gather each week as a body to give thanks to God for all the blessings of our lives. We do so in a liturgical and sacramental manner in which we are reminded that God’s very presence is with us and sustains us in our life of faith.
In our Book of Common Prayer, we have services of daily prayer that encourage us to spend time prayer and worship either individuals or as a family. Part of loving God with our whole being includes spending daily time with our Lord.
We refer to our personal ministries as our nurture ministires because they nurture our relationship with Jesus through fellowship, education, and church life.
Christ called his disciples to make disciples and to teach them God’s word. The early church gathered to do so in homes and as a community. We are working to hold classes, groups and Bible studies to live into this call. Our hope is to build faith in the life of the people who participate in these ministries.
Another way we help nurture people in the faith is to care for them. When people are celebrating the birth of their child or grandchild, when they are sick or when they need prayer, we want to look care for them. The ministry of caring for others tells them how much we love them and it an incredibly powerful manner of loving our neighbors as ourselves.
And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matt 22:39-40. Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Matt 25:37-40
Our commitment to reaching out and serving those in need in our community includes a portion of our giving. It is our goal to give away 50% of all pledged money to God at St. John’s. We are currently giving about 24% away. This is our effort to love on our neighbor in need.
In addition to serving our neighbor it is our hope to share the Good News of Christ with our neighbor. God’s love for us compels us to share that love with our neighbors.