More than a year ago, we began a conversation about the mission of Seaside United Methodist Church. The congregation participated in a survey process, we reviewed extensive demographic data and met with local and community leaders to discuss community needs, seeking to answer the question “who is our neighbor?” After considerable reflection and prayer, the draft documents were presented to the Seaside Church Council in March with the request that council members spend time in prayer and reflection for action in May. We offer it here to the larger congregation with the same request.
Our Mandate: “To Make Disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
This statement comes from our United Methodist Book of Discipline and serves as a general statement for all United Methodist Churches. It should be understood as a part of and as a foundation to the statements below which are specific to Seaside.
Our Mission: “Building bridges to connect people in a transformative relationship with Jesus Christ.”
A Mission Statement describes “what we do” to fulfill our mandate. If every church shares a common mandate to make disciples and serve God and neighbor, each church also brings unique gifts to that task. One of the great gifts that we at Seaside have to share with our community is significant diversity. We come from many places and represent many backgrounds. Yet we find common community as we work together for the sake of Christ. Like the bridges that connect the barrier islands to the mainland, Seaside is uniquely gifted to bring people together through worship, education and service to God and neighbor in ways that are both life-affirming and which open the door to a vital, transformative relationship with Christ.
Our Vision: “A vital community, encountering Jesus Christ, and living abundantly through service to God and Neighbor.”
A Vision describes what we hope to become as we fulfill our mission. Note that “Service to God and Neighbor” is located here because such service is more than a means to an end, but is part of our understanding of what a fulfilled and vital church community will look like.
Our Journey: “Loving God, Serving God, Growing in Grace.”
Many will recognize this statement already. It began life simply as an organizing structure for a church brochure. But we found ourselves using it in a variety of other ways. If our “vision” statement defines the destination, “Our Journey” statement identifies the roads we take in fulfilling the mission and moving toward that destination. Loving God reflects ministries that focus on our worship, prayer and devotional life. Serving God is embodied in ministries of outreach, care, administration and reconciliation. Growing in Grace is reflected in ministries of study, formation and education. All three of these ideas are shaped by the language of the Methodist movement from its earliest days.
We invite you to take these statements to heart. Reflect on them. Consider how your (and our) ministry already reflects the mission and ways that we might more fully live it out in the future. And finally, pray for our congregation and its leaders as we continue to discern God’s will in this community.