We like things that bring us together, and allow us to have a common cause. A couple of years ago, the Session approved a Mission Statement for our church: Sharing the Vitality of Christ: Loving, Serving, Welcoming All.
The Mission Statement is meant to guide our ministry together. Are we remaining true to our baptism, which binds us to the life (vitality), death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Do we love, with Christ’s love as our model? Do we place others before ourselves in service? Are we truly welcoming of all kinds of people? The Session thought the answer to these questions was “yes.” The Session also believes that the Mission Statement can guide our growth into deeper discipleship. The vitality of Christ, and the good work of loving, serving, and welcoming give us a common cause.
Our denomination meets as a General Assembly every two years. At both the 2016 and the 2018 General Assemblies, action was taken to encourage common cause for Presbyterian (USA) churches, centering on the biblical text Matthew 25:31-46. In these verses, Jesus says that the glorious coming of the Lord will include this blessing: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom… for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25:34-35) Simply put, the Presbyterian Church was exhorted to act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned, or poor.
The Deacons of our church identified the Matthew 25 Invitation as a worthy objective. In many ways, our church is already doing the very things Matthew 25 encourages. However, we hope new initiatives will come our way through this program. Specifically, the Matthew 25 Invitation will challenge us to deepen our faith and to get actively and joyfully engaged with our community and world. This work of engagement will also include our resistance of all kinds of bias against people of color and the poor.
The Deacons recommended to our Session that we become a Matthew 25 Church, and the Session, in August 2019, voted unanimously to do so. We look forward to sharpening our focus, as we live out our call to discipleship, and make common cause with each other. Life in the church has never been more exciting, or more important.