Here is what I’ve been meditating on lately. Seems like every day I re-read this list multiple times. I think I’ve almost got it memorized. Hahaha.
They are the “Core Values” of Pathways Church (Mill Creek, WA) that I have recently accepted a call to help lead.
In fact, it is these values that really drew me to this community. I love the choice of terms and the almost poetic language in which they are described. There is honesty, reality, grittiness, hope and beauty described here. They remind me of the best of what church can be. And I pray that they are a source of refreshment, hope and inspiration to you as you read them.
Personal depth is developed by asking tough questions, by struggling. Those who abandon the struggle either come to believe that they have gained all of the answers or quit caring about those answers altogether. Life is not meant to be lived in either of these extremes. Life is a struggle. Following Jesus does not alleviate our struggle, give us the answer to every question, or enable us to conquer every difficulty of life. But it does make the struggle worth facing by tying it to something greater than ourselves. It is in this wrestling that we learn to trust and draw closer to the heart of God.
Because we have been purposefully created, everyone seeks meaning and truth. The desire for purpose is built into us. Satisfaction of this inner hunger will only be found by exploring why we were created. Jesus claimed to give “life to the full.” As we gain an understanding of His teachings from the Scriptures, our eyes are opened to the ultimate meaning of life. This fullness is not only found beyond this life, but it can exist in how we live our lives right now, everyday.
To “redeem” is to buy back something that you originally owned. All truth and beauty belong to God. Unfortunately, selfishness, pride, and hatred have twisted and marred much of it. Christ came not only to reclaim individual lives, but all of creation as well. Redemption can occur in the simple beauty of art and creativity, the profound redirection of a life consumed by self, or the overwhelming task of tackling poverty, hunger and sanitation in third-world countries. We partner with Christ to recover the sense of beauty, renewal, and justice which He intended for our lives.
Here the teachings of Jesus become very unpopular. True love transcends self and ease and therefore requires sacrifice. God first demonstrated that love to us through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, on the cross. As an act of worship, and in response, we give our lives, sacrificially, to Him and to those around us. To follow Jesus is to reflect His giving nature; to take more interest in the needs of others than of ourselves.
We struggle, but not alone. We search for meaning, but others walk the path alongside us. We partner with God to redeem creation, but we do so in conjunction with others. We sacrifice of ourselves, but must have others to whom we give. The New Testament is filled with teachings on how we are to live with “one another”. We laugh together and cry together. We celebrate together and grieve together. We were not meant to journey alone.
Wherever you are tonight, may you find struggle, meaning, redemption, sacrifice and community as a core experience in your faith journey.
Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I agree how inspiring it can be to contemplate our “mission” in light of these ideals. I do want to offer my own perspective that the only one of these that we should actively SEEK is community. I believe that trusting and obeying Christ will fill our lives with the struggle and opportunity to sacrifice. We will gain meaning and redemption as a result of our walking in the path He leads us in. BUT, I do not think we are to SEEK these as an end in themselves, for to do so focuses our attention on ourselves and our performance (and the value, ie “meaning” of that performance.) If we seek community, that turns our focus onto others, their needs, their hurts, etc, and as we reach out to them we will receive the full package of “struggle, sacrifice, redemption, and a meaningful life” that comes in serving our Lord. It is good to be aware of these qualities of the Christian walk so that we are not surprised when they overtake us. I do not think we need to go out and chase them down. Keep your focus on God and stretch your hand out to your brothers and sisters.
Thanks for the comment Ron. For clarification sake, these aren’t the “mission” of the church but the “core values.” Meaning, they are components/aspects of the journey that the group is committed to embrace and champion though not necessarily end goals in and of themselves.
In my mind, “community” is actually better served as a high organizational value rather than the “mission.” Community is a by-product of mission. In other words, you forge deep community & relationships by working together to accomplish a mission. It’s a great by-product, but not a great main goal. Whenever we make “community” our main goal instead of the mission i think we tend to miss it.
Almighty is my best friend in my life;and up to now no one i had foeudnd like him who will give good suggestion to me;be with in troubles;save me from satan;help me to do good things and so many are there i can t express in words i feel so lucky to be his friend and he is my friend so i wish every to be as his friend for ever for ever and ever and dont forget him in any situation b’cos he is waiting for u to help when u ask him with so much of love to gods children sining of joshuva