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In an effort to better and more accurately communicate who we are as a church and what God has called us to do, as well as have our mission statement help guide our ministry, the Elders have approved a slight but significant change to our Mission Statement.

The old statement read:

Mission Church exists to glorify God and make disciples by building an authentic, Gospel-centered community.

The new statement reads:

Mission Church exists to glorify God and make disciples by building authentic, Gospel-centered friendships.

As we have grown in who we are as a church, and solidified around what we want to be and do, it has become apparent that “community” doesn’t quite carry the meaning we want it to. “Community” tends to be more vague in describing a generic group of people. We are most certainly not a generic group of people. A community can also be a “park, rec center” and any manner of public space.

A friend is what we have been made into. Through the Gospel, by the will of God the Father, and in Jesus we have been transformed from strangers to friends. In contrast to a “community,” Mission Church is a group of friends united by the Gospel, by which our great God and King Jesus, has made us his friend:

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” –John 15:15

A friend is who we are. We believe that a key, which is to say, an absolutely necessary component, to making a disciple is strong Gospel-centered friendships. There is no way to make a disciple without friends. A friend is one who is committed to the welfare of the other person. That reality captures what we want to communicate and who we truly are, where “community” does not. You can go fishing with a buddy but you tell a friend what’s going on in your heart. A community can’t “be there for you in hour of need” except in the individual persons of that community.

A friend is what we naturally make. As people we don’t naturally form communities. Communities form out of friendships. It is a bit of a chicken-egg distinction, but the constituent parts of a community, its building blocks are friendships. Therefore, our emphasis should be on the friendships and community will take care of itself, emerging from the collective friendships. In addition, we are all part of “communities” where we aren’t friends with the other members. Is that a community you feel a part of? Is that a group you lay your life down for? No! Friendships are the foundation, the structure and the glue of community. So lets get friendships right and the community will be strong.

A friend acts like Jesus. In this endeavor to make disciples, we must be diligent to do what disciples do. Jesus described the hallmark act of a disciple, the quintessential act of love this way:

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13.

A community can act like Jesus in the collective, when banded together. And the church community should. But that will only happen if the friends within the community are acting that way toward one another. A community doesn’t act like Jesus so much as the people within that community do. Those people are called friends.

Mission statements are not perfect but they are helpful tools in describing to those outside what we are about. They are also helpful in reminding those inside who they are to be and who they are becoming. For us…

Mission Church exists to glorify God and make disciples by building authentic, Gospel-centered friendships.

– Eric Creekmore, Lead Pastor