Last week my family and I had the privilege of being back on campus of my alma mater – Faith Baptist Bible College! It was nice to reconnect with my professors, former classmates, and meet some new friends who are serving the Lord in a variety of different ministries all across the country. To be sure, I was blessed and refreshed as a result of my time back on campus.
The reason for our visit to Faith was to participate in the college’s first ever Pastors and Wives Conference. The theme of the conference was essentially “be not weary in the work of the ministry.” In other words, “its ok to be tired in ministry, but not tired of ministry.” The theme verse of the conference was taken from Galatians 6:9, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” It was so encouraging to hear different seasoned ministry veterans explain the Scriptures to us and motivate us to continue doing the work God has called us to do.
In the first plenary session, Dr. Les Ollila (affectionately known as “Dr. O”) presented a sermon entitled, “Laboring and Loving TOGETHER”. It was a good sermon with many fine points, but one sidebar comment really grabbed my attention. He asked, “You know what drives mission? Not a mission statement. Mission happens through relationships.” Wow. What a gut punch! And he was absolutely right. Mission doesn’t happen because of fancy words and sentences in a mission statement (as important as one is), mission (true mission) happens by means of relationships.
We here at Prairie Flower Baptist Church have such a fine and noble mission statement summarized in one sentence: “We desire to be a strong church that makes disciples for the glory of God.” This is our mission. This is what we’re all about as the church out here on the prairie. We want to be a “strong church…for the glory of God” (Side Note: This would essentially be our vision as a church) by means of effectively accomplishing our primary mission to “make disciples”. All of this motivated by the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20.
But how do we accomplish such a high and noble mission? How do we successfully drive mission? Well, once again, as Dr. O explained, we focus on relationships. That’s how we successfully drive mission. Dr. O went on to explain that relationships are built and cultivated by means of three main ingredients: love, trust, and respect.
Prairie Flower, if we are going to successfully accomplish our God-given mission to “make disciples” and thus become a “strong church…for the glory of God” we must be a loving church. That is, we must be willing to place other’s needs over our own needs. We must be willing to sacrifice again and again without expecting anything in return. And remember, love is not a feeling that comes and goes. Love is a conscious choice to stay and serve no matter the outcome or how deserving (or non-deserving) the person(s) is or is not. So how do we love each other? Answer: We look to Jesus Christ as our ultimate example and we love as He loved. Want Scripture to back all of this up? Sure. Check out John 13:34-35 for starters and then read all of 1 John 🙂
We also need to be a congregation that trusts each other if we are to successfully drive mission. And keep in mind…love breeds trust. We cannot trust each other if we do not love each other (cf. 1 John 4:18). So how do we begin to trust each other? Answer: We love each other. We spend time with each other. And we remain faithful to each other. One pastor-friend of mine phrases it like this, “Time + Faithfulness = Trust”.
And finally, we have to be a church that respects each other. This is very similar to the concept of love, but it’s distinct from love in that respect entails admiration and thinking well of someone. Truth of the matter is, we can love people and not really admire or think well of them. However, this is the essence of what it means to respect someone. How are you doing in this area? No doubt…this is a tough area to grow in. But if we are going to be a people “on mission” we must genuinely respect each other.
Well, there you have it! What drives mission? Stellar, visionary leadership? A great strategic plan? A people excited for the future and willing to work hard? Well, all of these things surely help. But mission is primarily driven through relationships…relationships built on love, trust, and respect.
What else drives mission? Tell me and be sure to hashtag it with #Mission #PFBC.