Why does the church exist? According to Matthew’s Gospel, the risen Christ made it clear: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (28:19-20).

Based on this “Great Commission,” our United Methodist Church has stated its purpose: “The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Local churches provide the most significant arena through which disciple-making occurs.”

So, the mission of our congregation is to make disciples.

This is a four-fold task.We could abbreviate our mission as one of welcoming-worshiping-nurturing-sending.

We reach out to people and welcome them into the church
We have a direct responsibility for people of the “world” around our church, the community in which we and others study, work, shop, play, and so forth. In this world are people with many hurts, doubts, and questions.

 

There are some who are new in the community and feel a little lost, some who are proudly self-sufficient, and others who are in desperate circumstances.

Our mission is to reach out to them, listen to them, accept them, share the gospel in word and deed, invite them into the family of faith, and joyfully receive all who will respond.

We relate people to God
The second task in making disciples is to offer people opportunities for growing closer to God. Whether they are visitors or old-time members, just beginning the journey of faith or well along the road—all are in need of God’s love in Christ.

Through worship, prayer, study, and honest sharing, we help one another discover that the Holy Spirit is not far off but present with us, wanting an open and loving friendship with each of us—not only friendship but commitment as well.

Through our congregation’s various ministries we encourage one another to give our selves to Christ, to ground our lives in the living God.

We nurture people in Christian living
Third, our congregation’s mission is to nurture people of all ages in the Christian faith and to help them practice the disciplines of discipleship.Through worship, baptism, Communion, Bible study, prayer, and other means of grace, we’re strengthened for ministry.

The church exists not to serve itself but to serve the world. We come to church not only for our own personal enrichment but also to prepare ourselves to do the work of love and to get ready to be Christ’s disciples in the community.

So the congregation exists, in part, to surround and support each member in his or her ministry. We do not always succeed in our efforts to be faithful disciples in the world. But with the loving support of the community of faith, we can continue to grow.