Our mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The vision of First UMC is that we exist to offer creative experiences that lead people to inspiring encounters with God, meaningful engagement with each other, and lifelong transformation.
Over the last several months, we’ve been working on developing a new vision statement. The Long-Range Planning Committee from 2016 developed the Five Pillars for Strategic Development that included Evangelism, Christian Formation, Community Outreach, Children’s & Youth Programming, and Communication. The Visioning Team of 2019 sought to develop a statement that both encapsulated the Five Pillars and motivated our congregation to greater effectiveness in fulfilling the mission that belongs to every local United Methodist congregation. After working through several iterations, we finally landed on the statement above.
First, the statement acknowledges that we are all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). We are never more living into the image of God in which we were created than when we are creating. By tapping into our creative nature, we are able to find new and stimulating ways to point people toward God. Our sanctuary is one of the most beautiful sanctuaries ever built. The intricacy of the wood carvings, the splendor of the stained-glass windows, the symbolism that permeates the whole structure is a testimony to the Creator God whom we worship. Our vision is that we will continue to create beauty and meaning not only for our congregation but for the whole community.
Second, through creative experiences we want people to encounter God in inspiring ways. The word “inspiring” is literally “in-Spirited” in which the Spirit of God is imbued into our being, and we are filled with the life and love of God (Ephesians 3:14-19). Our worship experiences will be liturgical works of art (literally “the work of the people” in worship) as we offer God our thanks and praise.
Third, we seek to find new ways of creatively connecting with each other. We were created to live in a community and to support one another, learn together, and help each other to grow in faith (1 Peter 4:8-10). We will love one another as Christ has loved us.
Finally, we believe that the whole span of our lives is designed as a series of transformations that shape us more fully into the image of God (2 Corinthians 3:18 and Romans 12:1-3). John Wesley taught that we are “going on to perfection,” which does not mean we will ever be perfect, but that God is continually at work in our lives perfecting us with love. We never reach a point where we can no longer experience growth. We will find ways to help people grow through every age and stage of life.
For this vision to become a reality in our congregation, it cannot be merely a statement that becomes a plaque up on the wall. It must become a personal passion of each and every one of us who calls First UMC our home. We must wake up every morning and seek to be creative, to find new ways for people to encounter God, to engage one another, and to allow the Holy Spirit to be at work in all our relationships so that not only we but the entire world, is transformed. It’s a bold vision—but it’s what we believe God is calling us to do. I hope you will join us! ~Dale Cohen