OUR MISSION: FORMING DISCIPLES
God is calling and is equipping the church of Christ at Cedar Lane to form people into disciples of Jesus who together participate in the kingdom of God.
The mission statement above is intended to provide a description of the kind of church we believe we are called to be. It’s probably enough on its own—after all, we commonly just refer to our mission as “Forming Disciples”—but for those who might want an even fuller description, read on!
The mission statement begins by making it explicit that we do not exist for our own purposes, but that God uses us for God’s own purposes, calling and equipping us to that end. Thus the statement is inherently provisional; it is subject to change as we attend to the leading of the Spirit of God.
The statement’s main idea is carried by the verb “to form”. This emphasizes the process of growing, being changed towards a particular goal. The church exists for the purpose of God changing people.
“People”, the object of the verb “to form”, makes the target group of God’s action in the church intentionally broad. It includes people in the community, people already in the church, and even people in distant places like Peru, Romania, and St. Vincent. The church’s mission has implications for unbelievers and old believers: God uses the church to form all of us into disciples of Jesus.
We are formed into “disciples of Jesus”. Jesus is our example and teacher. This also means that our formation is never finished; a disciple is not a completed product, but a person who is always growing. Faithful pursuit of growth is the very nature of discipleship. Related to the concept of discipleship is our participation in the kingdom that Jesus announced.
The “Kingdom of God” indicates a submission to the will of God. The presence of this phrase in the statement indicates the realization that God the creator is the rightful king over all the earth, but also recognizes that not everyone willingly participates in that kingdom in the present. Not everyone is submissive to the will of God. The world contains many people, systems, and forces that are not yet subjected to God. By participating in God’s kingdom in the present, we recognize what is wrong in the world at present, and we work, hope, and pray for its redemption and restoration. Where we see opportunity to redeem what is wrong in the world, we join God in doing so.
Participation in the kingdom of God is something that we do “together”. We are not isolated subjects of God the king, but participate in the kingdom in community. The church is a visible, but imperfect and incomplete, representation of the kingdom.