Jul 08

Purpose and Values – Looking Ahead Together

“…and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,

looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Image by Mirna Sentic.

Racing has never been one of my favorite images the Bible offers us for the life of faith.  Maybe it’s because I often feel rushed in my daily life, moving so quickly from one thing to the next; maybe it’s because speed has never been what you might call my greatest virtue.  I tend to like images of faith as a journey, as a gift, as a daily relationship of trust.

But maybe the image of a race shouldn’t bother me so much.  Maybe it’s less about speed or who gets there first than it is about forward motion, about putting one foot in front of the other, about what Eugene Peterson calls “a long obedience in the same direction.”  Maybe it’s about looking ahead–to Christ who has gone before us and to the world around us that God loves like crazy.

We’re now at the end of a one-year process of discerning a statement of purpose and a set of core values for St. Christopher’s.  We read and prayed our way through the book of Acts last summer; we gathered for a weekend retreat last fall; many have offered feedback to the vision team on a first draft of these statements, and I’m pleased to report that the vision team has come up with their “final” version.  Here it is:

Our Purpose:

St. Christopher’s lives, shares, celebrates, and grows

in the transformative and inclusive love of God through Christ.

Our Values:

1.     Jesus is the center of our community and shows us who God is.

2.     God’s empowering love offers renewal each day.

3.     The diversity of all life is a gift of God.

4.     Created by God, we are connected to all of God’s creation.

5.     Questions are part of a living faith.

6.     The Spirit moves all to share their gifts.

Those of you who read the first draft of the core values will notice that values 3 and 4 have been revised, based on feedback from the congregation.  The vision team and I feel that these statements all reflect something both of who we are as a community and of who God is calling us more fully to be.

I see this work as giving us a direction to look together, a vision for the race that’s before us at this time.  We’re already doing much of this well; I hope you know and appreciate that fact.  What would St. Christopher’s look like if we were embodying this purpose and these values even more fully?  We can only answer that question together.

Live, share, celebrate, and grow.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be part of a community that does those things; I want my son to be part of a community that does those things.  This is an exciting time to be part of St. Christopher’s–thanks for your part in all of it.

Peace,

Pastor Andy