The 2016 General Conference is over and the people called United Methodists from all over the world have returned home to carry on the Mission of the United Methodist Church – Making faithful Disciples for Jesus Christ. If you would like to know more about the resolutions, debates, and Christian Conferencing that took place for ten days in Portland Oregon, you may read the section entitled General Conference Report in this edition of the Herald or follow the link ngumc.org/GC2016 . Mission and Vision are necessary for any group of people and it is especially true as the “group” grows. The Mission defines what we do (and what we don’t do as well). The Vision defines how we accomplish the mission. Many of the actions voted on will have virtually no direct impact on the ministry and mission of Rome First. There will be media “spin” and hype from all sides declaring victory for their “cause”! For me there is only one cause – Making Disciples for Jesus Christ. To fulfill our shared mission, we must keep the main thing the main thing – The main thing is making Disciples for Jesus Christ.
Maybe the cartoon above represents your feeling about re-visiting Mission or Vision Statements. Maybe if we enacted and lived out what we profess is our Mission or Goal, we might be surprised to experience the world in an entirely different light. Simply having a Mission Statement and Vision Statement are not the same thing as living out what we say through our everyday living. If I am honest, I admit that after over 33 years of ordained ministry, I still don’t understand how some folks still ask the question, “What is our Mission?” I also am perplexed at the misconception that only “Ordained Clergy” or church staff are tasked with fulfilling the Mission. The Mission of making Disciples is the business of all the followers of Christ. No age limit, no income requirement, no certification or educational requirements – The requirement for making Disciples for Jesus Christ is for everyone!
History – Future – Mission – Vision Who are we? Where have we been? What have we done? Who will we become? Where will we go? What will we do? Who will join us as we move into the future? Where will we go in ministry and mission? What will we do as we seek to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ? Maybe those were some of the questions that the founders and organizers of Rome First asked as they gathered to consider starting a Methodist meeting place back in 1840.
It was in 1840 that the First Methodist Church in Rome was organized. The present church building held its first worship service on July 8, 1888. Some 176 years have passed since the six founding members began a “ministry outpost”. The Mission of that gathering was to make Disciples for Jesus Christ.
A mission statement articulates the purpose of the entity/company, basically why it exists, what it does and for whom. It should serve as an ongoing guide that spells out what the company/entity is all about. The mission should focus on the here and now.
A vision statement outlines the goals and aspirations for the future. It creates a mental picture of a specific medium-term target and should be a source of inspiration.
Here are some good mission statements that explain in clear and succinct words what the company/business does. eBay: ”At eBay, our mission is to provide a global online marketplace where practically anyone can trade practically anything, enabling economic opportunity around the world.” Google: "Organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Walt Disney: "We create happiness by providing the finest in entertainment for people of all ages, everywhere." Amazon: "To build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online" Innocent: "Make natural, delicious food and drink that helps people live well and die old".
Mission (or Purpose): What is the core purpose of Rome First? What do we do and for whom? Vision (or Ambition): Where do we want to be in 5 or 10 years? What are our aspirations? The Mission of Rome First is Making Disciples for Jesus Christ by Loving God, Loving People and Serving the World. Our vision is to “Serve Rome by loving and welcoming all as partners in transformation” -
We will focus on the following three priorities for the next four years. a. Adapt current practices and structures to build a culture of welcome within the walls of Rome First UMC. Be transformed internally so that we intentionally build a welcoming culture within the walls of Rome First UMC that extends to building new relationships in the community. b. Focus the gifts and resources of Rome First on transformational ministry c. Facilitate collaboration and cooperation for transformation of our community, offering a way for organizations that have needs to publicize those needs while organizations and individuals who desire to lend support are made aware of the needs in our community. The initial focus will be on the foster care crisis in our community. How will we accomplish our mission? We will fulfill our mission/purpose with God’s help and through the dedication, devotion and determination of the members of Rome First. The vision of Rome First will serve as our guide into the future where we will be connected to and with a coalition of complementary, collaborative community partners who seek to SERVE ROME and continue in transformational and life changing ministries for the Glory of God.
What are some of the ways we will live “out” and live “into” our vision? What will the future look like as we seek to move from transactional to transformational ministries? What new “things” will we do? What “things” that have been part of the ministry and mission of Rome First will be “modified” into transformational ministries? What “things” will we no longer do? The Leaders of Rome First’s One Board will continue to seek new ways to live out and live “into” the vision of Rome First. You may be asked to help on a ministry team, or you may be asked to assist in implementing some new ways of expressing radical hospitality. There will be numerous training events and opportunities to learn more about some of the “paths” that will help Rome First “live out” and “live into” our Mission through practicing radical hospitality that welcomes ALL. Rome First has an illustrious history of being on the “cutting edge” of ministry and of serving others.
Our new ventures and adventures will take us on some familiar paths and will call us to “blaze” some new trails in ministry and mission. The way we will accomplish the work that is before us is by utilizing a “nimble” team structure, one that does not rely on long tedious committee meetings where reports are read, minutes are approved or lengthy debates are held about which line item of a particular budget should receive a two cent increase to balance the budget. Instead the work will be done by “actions focused teams” that take on the necessary work of the administrative tasks in small sub-teams that will schedule their own gatherings, coordinate their agendas, develop an action plan, and recruit task force members to work on a particular “project” for a set period of time. Then at the regularly scheduled One Board Gatherings the One Board will continue to define and refine the “pathway” that will lead us to arrive at our preferred future where our vision has pointed us and to accomplish our ongoing mission.
Everyone has a part and everyone’s part is important. Consider this your invitation to get involved in helping to shape the future for the mission and ministry of Rome First. Will you join me in the great adventure of continuing to pursue God’s preferred future for Rome First? Who will join in as we move into the future together? Where will we go in ministry and mission? What will we do as we seek to be faithful Disciples of Jesus Christ? I’ll see you here for worship on Sunday. And I’ll see you in the community making a difference as we seek to SERVE ROME together!
Shalom, Robert ><>