Our mission is alive and well

By Rev. Rick King

The last several weeks, we’ve been looking at the things that changed or went away in 2020.

But some things made it through our pandemic year intact.

First, the MISSION. We turn again and again to the vision that motivates us, a vision of seekers and servants, growing in God’s transforming love.

The Mission is how God brings that vision more and more into being: “To become a demonstration plot for the reign of God on earth, sowing seeds of love, peace and justice, and cultivating the transformative possibilities revealed in Jesus Christ, the Master Gardener.”

A year ago and seemingly overnight, the pandemic broke many of our methods: in-person gathering, congregational singing, congregational eating, small groups and classes. But the mission of our church, and all churches, survived.

In a way, the breaking of the methods gave us the chance to focus on our purpose, our mission, our reason for being. And you know what? Even the strategy for carrying out our mission has survived the pivot to online during the pandemic:

  1. Offer unconditional welcome, sanctuary and spiritual nourishment to everyone hungry for God’s love.
  2. Tend to our inner transformation through prayer, the exploration of scripture, kindness, forgiveness, and openness to God’s still-speaking voice.
  3. Share God’s restorative power to repair injustice within our wider community through witness and service.
  4. Teach about our faith and inspire deeper connections with God through vibrant worship and a wide spectrum of music and the creative arts.

As we emerge from the pandemic, we’ll need to evaluate our methods to make sure they’re the best way to carry out our mission, but in many ways we’ve already begun to do this as we begin to develop a digital strategy and incorporate a video installation along with the sound system upgrade in our sanctuary.

But look again at those four parts of our strategy, above: all of them endure, online or in person.

The second thing that survived 2020 is HOPE. It breathes life into our souls, warms our hearts, strengthens our bodies, and inspires our minds. The four points of the strategy, above, are the way you and I co-create hope with God; they’re all actions that embody and inspire hope.

Hope has picked up in the past few weeks because of the vaccines now available, and many of us are speaking of seeing a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. But because of the way we’ve been transformed in the midst of this pandemic, our hope is not only dependent on vaccines.

And third and finally, AGILITY, which has issued forth in innovation. Some churches—especially those with lots of resources—have tried to regain a sense of normalcy. But the blessing of our “pandemic pivot” is that it showed how much more capable of changing we are than we thought.

While it’s tempting to want to go back to the way things were as lockdowns ease and the pandemic recedes, it’s far better to use the creative energy the pandemic released in us to keep innovating.

So let’s face into the future asking, “What does all this make possible?”