Pastor’s Pen – September 2017

By September 1, 2017Pastor's Pen

Since late last Fall, the Staff and Lead Team of Gravel Hill have been engaged in a pro-cess of re-evaluating the ministry of Gravel Hill. We have undertaken this process with a two-fold purpose in mind: 1. Evaluate what we are doing to see if our ministry is actually in line with our stated values and Mission statement. 2. Identify weak areas in our ministry for improvement and identify new ministry areas.

To undertake this extensive review of our ministry and practices, we decided to revisit our “core values” as well as both our Mission and Vision for the ministry of Gravel Hill. Core Values are basic beliefs from which our sense of ministry is derived. In essence, core values are those things we believe must happen in any group for that group to actually be the church of Jesus Christ. For example, a group of people might come together around both beneficent and beneficial ideals but not include worship as part of their raison d’etre (reason for be-ing). The group may be valuable but it is not a church.

After many months and much prayerful consideration, we have identified eight core values that any group must be doing to be the biblical Church of Jesus Christ. I should add that while some of these values are more basic than others, the following list is not hierarchical. Our Core Values are: Worship, Prayer, Spiritual Growth & Discipleship, Mission, Hospitality, Fellow-ship, Generosity and Innovation & Vision. I want to note at this juncture that the preceding list is not exclusive of all faith-based values, nor may it include a value you hold dear. Our goal was to distill Christian values down to the basic group of what simply must happen to be the church of Jesus Christ. During the months of September and October both Pastor Smith and Pastor Lochinger will offer a series on these core values.

We are currently evaluating our ministry to see if reflects our stated core values. For example, if we have identified “Mission” as a core value of Gravel Hill, then mission should be well represented in the ministry of our church. For this example, at least, I am very pleased to report mission (local, national, inter-national) is very well represented in our overall minis-try. I suspect the same can-not be said about every core value. But this is the very reason for this re-evaluation of our ministry. We want to identify both what we are doing well to see if we can improve upon it, but we also want to see where we are lacking so that we can make the necessary changes. Additionally, however, this inquiry will help us plan for the adjustment we will need to make to address a rapidly changing ministry landscape.

After we identified these core values, we spent some time considering our Mis-sion Statement to see if it is still relevant for today’s world. The mission statement for our church is: To Learn (about Christ) To Live (out Christ Likeness) and To Share (Christ with the World). We believe this is our raison d”etre (our rea-son for being). The church does not exist to meet my needs nor does it exist as a portal for heaven. The church exists to educate children, youth and adults about Jesus Christ. That teaching, however, is not for mere education’s sake. We are to learn about Christ for two specific reasons: 1. To live out those learnings in our everyday actions and 2. To share who we have be-come, in Christ, with the world (i.e. To be the living, breathing embodiment of Christ in the world).

We are currently developing a new Vision Statement for Gravel Hill. The Vision State-ment is what we believe indi-viduals, our Church and the community would look like if we could live into our core values and our mission (purpose) 100%. The Vision, then, is the God dream of a God future. Such a dream has the potential and power to drag us into a God in-tended future. Remember, nothing happens that did not first begin as a dream or

a hope. We are dreaming big. We are dreaming of a church that is a spiritual leader among churches and in the community. We are dreaming of a community that is directed by God’s call to justice and righteousness not the distorted notion of justice for some.

We are asking you to join us in practicing one of our core values in particular. Please be in prayer for the Leadership of Gravel Hill. Please pray that God blesses this evaluative process. Pray that God so directs this process that our work will be exactly what God desires. Pray for the future of the Gravel Hill so that as we look to minis-try options for the coming years we may catch the wave of God’s Spirit and not swim against the tide. Pray that God uses you in this process as well . . .your prayerful comments and suggestions are welcome. Pray to see if God wants you to serve on the Lead Team or another Leadership position. Be bold, be open, be willing to serve, be willing to let God use you to God’s own glory.