I pray you’ve noticed that we’re hoping to recalibrate ourselves – both individually and as a congregation – as we begin 2021. Not only are we inviting and encouraging each of us to read Scripture and pray in a concerted way, we are also revisiting our shared commitments through our church’s mission and vision statements on Sunday mornings. These foundational expressions are not novel; rather, they merely articulate the biblical functions of a local church to provide mileposts for us to follow. To this end, I hope you’ll carefully read (or re-read) the following paragraphs that explain who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish.
Parkway Baptist Church exists to glorify God by making disciples.
Our main goal is to glorify God or to join in the public display of His infinite beauty & worth. We want to speak, sing, act, and live ways that acknowledge, announce, and rejoice in Him because He is supreme and excellent in His otherness. In other words, our Creator God demands that we worship Him or that we treasure and delight in Him because only He deserves it. Thus, we respond to Him inwardly in way that produces outward praise and draws attention to His worth.
Glorifying God, then, is the primary objective, not only for us but for every aspect of His created world. While the heavens are declaring it every day, people fail to live up to this requirement because of the effect of sin in us. Rather than finding our way to it on our own, we look to Jesus who perfectly accomplished it. Through his earthly life and ministry, Jesus maintained this single purpose (of glorifying God) and employed a dominant strategy to carrying it out. His strategy for enjoying and announcing God’s supreme worth was to establish and expand His kingdom on earth. To this end, he called individuals to join this kingdom and taught them to live radically committed to continuing its expansion as His disciples. As His disciples in the present day, we follow His example, and our ministry operates along these complementary, intertwined themes: worship and discipleship.
We invite, call, and lead people to value God supremely by knowing Him through Jesus and then following Him absolutely. Thus, all our ministry – and by ministry we mean everything from preaching to children’s ministry programming to short-term mission trips to fellowship meals to Sunday School curriculum to adult small groups to kids’ camp to student fellowship activities to administration to staff leadership to community involvement to small group Bible studies to pastoral counseling – aims for this goal and utilizes this strategy. Again, our mission is to glorify God by making disciples.
Therefore, we work to create an atmosphere of spiritual multiplication. Even Jesus didn’t do the entire ministry himself. Instead, he focused primarily on investing intentionally in twelve men who would carry-out the ministry with him and after he was gone. He preached to the masses, healed diseases, and performed miracles, but he spent the bulk of his time and energy multiplying himself in a few ordinary men. Thus, our strategy is to lead each member to become a multiplying disciple.
This strategy flows from the description of the church in Acts 2:42-47 and is expressed succinctly in what we call our vision statement. We lead members to grow and multiply in:
Fellowship. every member in community
Obedience. every member obeying God’s Word
Service. every member using his/her gifts
Missions. every member sharing the gospel
In fellowship, we connect each person to the church through relationships. From membership to Sunday School and beyond, we want each member to build lasting relationships with others and multiply those relationships by leading others to join.
In obedience, we teach God’s word and model obedience to lead each person toward spiritual maturity. Our goal is not increased knowledge, but transformed living that God will use to lead others to know and follow Christ.
In service, we challenge each member to discover and use his/her gifts for the common good of the church. God uses our combined and diverse service to meet the church’s needs, grow individual believers, and lead others to follow Christ.
In missions, we seek to make the gospel known in every corner of the world through the collective voices of our members. From Bardstown to Balgue, Nicaragua from Springfield Road to south Asia from south of the blue bridge to the schemes of Scotland from Maywood to Monroe, Michigan, we equip and exhort each member to share the gospel.
We’re just one among thousands of churches (or outposts of God’s kingdom) seeking to live for God’s glory and join in His mission to gather a people for Himself from all nations that will one day surround His throne to worship Him and live with Him for eternity. God is at work here, both in us and through us.