Rethinking Mission and Vision
And [Jesus] said to [the Disciples], "Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation." Mark 16:15 NRSV
United Methodist Church’s Mission Statement:
“to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
Often when I read Mark 16:15, my mind interprets “go into all the world” as those places far away, where missionaries go. Today we are Christians because that is how the Disciples interpreted Jesus’s instructions. When this verse is placed in context with the United Methodist Church’s mission statement, we see a similar path for disciple-making – “transformation of the world”.
I want us to consider another approach to Mark 16:15 and to the UMC’s Mission Statement. I believe that we often forget that “the world” includes our own community, “The world” includes the people who depend on Shepherd’s Table, the Help Center, Meals-on-Wheels, Salvation Army, and Room at the Inn. But equally as important, “the world” also includes the people we shop with, exercise with, stand in line with, work with, plus those who are our friends, whose children go to school with our children, who join us in our favorite restaurant, and who are our neighbors.
We are called to support local missions, international missions, and everything in between; but we are also called to reach those around us. In our Community there are people who have no church home, who need and want a church home, and who are curious about Christianity; some who were raised in church and some who weren’t. There are people who are searching for God, for a loving Church, for a place that is mission-minded. We are that Church! Every Methodist Church’s vision must be centered around how we will accomplish the UMC mission. That means “making disciples for Jesus Christ” in our Community, finding those “soon-to-be” disciples who are like us in many ways, but who lack a spiritual home. As you pray for discernment of the FFUMC vision, pray for God’s guidance in helping us reach out to, and understand, our Community.
Lisa Keys-Mathews, Chair
FFUMC Administrative Board