Follow me!

January 6, 2010

The elders and ministry staff of our congregation like to choose a theme for each year. Of course our purpose and mission does not change from year to year, but having a theme helps to focus our choices for teaching and other programs throughout the year. When all our efforts are aligned with a given focus, we think we stand a better chance of making significant progress on the currently perceived needs.

Our annual themes need to contribute to achievement of our unchanging purpose and mission. Here is the closest thing we have to an official “mission statement” from our church web site:

We are a group of baptized disciples scattered over Gwinnett County, GA, and beyond who are committed to loving God, loving each other, and loving the lost. Our purpose is to obey the Greatest Commandment thereby fulfilling the Great Commission.

The Greatest Commandment, of course, comes from Jesus’ teaching in Mat 22:35-40:

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Jesus answered the question with not one, but two commandments. According to Jesus, all the other commandments hang on these two. If we really fulfill these two commandments, the others will follow naturally. So these two commands summarize nicely our purpose as a congregation of Christians.

For 2010, we have chosen the theme, “Follow me!” This is the same call Jesus gave to Peter and Andrew (Matt 4:19), to Matthew (Matt 9:9), to the rich young ruler (Matt 19:21), to Philip (John 1:43), and to many others. It is the same call he gave to Peter after the resurrection (John 21:12). By following Jesus — his instructions and his example — we will fulfill our purpose in Christ.

So, what difference will it make, having “Follow me!” as our theme for the year?

For one thing, we are reorganizing our family groups into similar life situations based in part on the age of our children. For example, people who are raising preschoolers have a different set of needs and challenges from those who are raising high school students. We will be grouping people into peer groups and providing mentors, or shepherds, in each group to provide both spiritual and practical guidance specific to the needs of that group. In doing so we hope to help families more closely follow Jesus in their particular situations. And we hope to provide an outreach to the community from each peer group that will be better equipped to help those people with their real, felt needs. In short, we will be calling our members, their children, and our friends outside the church to follow Jesus.

In addition to providing new direction for our family groups, the “Follow me!” theme will be reflected in our bible classes, sermons, retreats, and other activities. We hope that this approach will cause each of our efforts to align with the others, so that the sum is greater than the parts.

One comment

  1. Heh… from the title, I first thought you were inviting readers to follow your new twitter feed, or something. ;-)Sounds like a good theme!

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