If you want to know the reason for the existing of someone or something, you will find yourself asking the question “why.” The question “why” speaks to motivation and purpose: “Why do you act like that?” “Why do you run your business in this way?” “Why do you do that as a family?” The question “why” cuts through all the hazziness of activity to aims at the essential reason for existence. The church needs to ask the “why” question as well: “Why does Grace Fellowship exist?” or “What is the purpose of Grace Fellowship?” The answer that we discover will drill-down past activities, programs, and ministries of our church. It speaks to the very reason for our existence.
The function of a purpose statement is to provide a short answer to the question, “why do we exist?” So, why does Grace Fellowship exist?
We exist to “spread the fame of God by reaching, building, and equipping people in the character and priorities of Jesus Christ.”
There are three components embedded within our purpose statement that communicate a wholistic understanding of our purpose as a church.
First, we exist to “spread the fame of God …”
In John 17:4, we see Jesus praying to the Father: “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” The verb form “to glorify” can mean ‘to praise’ or ‘to honor’ and the object of the life of Jesus is the Father. The idea is that Jesus uncovered the essential understanding of who the Father is to the people. In other words, Jesus “spread the fame of God” by doing what the Father asked Him to do. Therefore, the life of Jesus is the model for how a person can act in order to spread God’s fame as well.
The second component to our purpose statement reads, “… by reaching, building, and equipping people …”
Each of these terms relate to a spiritual stage that people are in. If a person is not a follower of Jesus, we want to REACH them with the Gospel of Jesus. If a person is a follower of Jesus, we want to help BUILD them stronger in the faith. If a person has matured in the faith we want to “EQUIP” them to minister to others as a lifestyle. We see the life of Jesus as more than a message, but that Jesus actually modeled a healthy, balanced ministry of reaching, building, and equipping His disciples. We will be talking more about this next week.
The third component to our purpose statement says: “… in the character and priorities of Jesus Christ.”
We want to spread God’s fame to people at various levels of spiritual development by following a particular example – the person of Jesus. In particular, we see the character (who He was) and priorities (what He did) as the method of spreading God’s fame. Think about it: what is it that so accurately and completely will transport the entire reality of who God is? The Bible tells us that Jesus is God on display:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Col. 1:15).
“For in him [Jesus, emphasis mine] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily …” (Col. 2:9).
“And the Word [Jesus, emphasis mine] became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Jesus perfectly represents God to humanity in who He was and what He did during His time on earth. Likewise, it is through emulating the “character and priorities” of Jesus that we see the fame of God being spread to humanity. It is through the expressing the character and priorities of Jesus through our unique personnalities and in this unique time that we are able to spread God’s fame regardless of where people are in their spiritual journey. Jesus told His disciples in one of His last meetings with them: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21b). Jesus essentally told His followers to do what I did. In our purpose statement we believe we have encapsulated the essential core of what it means to be a church: To spread the fame of God by reaching, building, and equipping people in the character and priorities of Jesu Christ.
We want the activities of our church to flow from the centerpiece of this passion. We believe God has put us in this community for this time to function in this way. We are honored and humbled by the grace that God and are excited about what this means for our church as we venture into a new phase of development as a fellowship of grace.