I woke up this morning to the surprise of our church (among others) being featured on the front page of our local newspaper, The Press Telegram. I assumed the article would simply be a short blurb in the corner of the middle of the newspaper on modern church statistics. I didn't expect our city's media outlet to highlight the Church's good works in Long Beach, let alone don our efforts on the front page. It was a blessing to see what we do for our city plastered both online and in hard copy form.
The article did a great job at capturing the heartbeat that catalyzes why we, specifically brand new church plants and re-plants, exist. And that, of course, is mainly to foster a spirit in which we can spread the Gospel while being community oriented. We exist to truly be agents of change. We exist, at the same time, to not create barriers between the church community and the city at large. Rather, we're here to embrace those around us as part of the fabric that makes up our churches.
And, the fact that the article features three different churches working with each other, beautifully captures our mission to work together instead of competing with one another.
To that end, I wanted to take this opportunity to also share the beginning stages of our revamped Mission and Vision for our church. We've recently celebrated our two year birthday and, as we embark into our third year, our leadership team felt it necessary to revisit what and who we are as The Branch. Vision changes over time as each component of the goal is met. And our church has made some amazing strides in fulfilling our original vision.
Our original Mission and Vision Statements read:
"The mission of The Branch is three fold:
– To LOVE God and to love others.
– To LEARN the ways of Jesus and to learn our culture and community.
– To LIVE out what we’re learning, while living with and serving the community we’re a part of.
Our vision is to cultivate multiple environments where the intersecting stories of Jesus and humanity can be shared, so to make way for a challenging move toward living a more godly life. We love to keep things super simple. We study the scriptures and we seek to live its truths out. We make friends. We serve others. We learn about God. The rest is all extra."
Our Mission, of course, remains the same. We are still a church that exists to Love God and to love others. We're still aiming to Learn more about Jesus and to learn about our community. And we're always seeking Living out what we're learning. In short, The Branch still exists to Love, Learn, and Live.
But what slightly changes is our vision. Vision, for any organization, will change as goals are met and succeeded. We've done a very good job at creating a steady rhythm of allowing our story and our community's story to cross paths with the story of God. We've launched a handful of Missional Communities to help foster these learning environments. And our Sunday Gatherings have primarily been line by line teachings of various books of the Bible. We've created a place where discipleship...the learning of Jesus...could truly happen.
So...in addition to what we've done...for our next season The Branch's vision is to "Create a culture of belonging, as we help people discover God's love for them, their purpose and value in life."
It's still simple, yet will require a move of God. We've scratched the surface of who we set out to be and are looking dive deeper in this next season.
This, of course, will be reworked for the next couple of week and we'll present our final thoughts come our next annual church meeting in June.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on our new vision.