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Vision, Mission, Identity and Branding. David Schoen Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry. Postmodern Culture and Church. Christianity in North America has moved (or been moved) away from its position of dominance loss not only of numbers
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Vision, Mission, Identity and Branding David Schoen Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry
Postmodern Culture and Church • Christianity in North America has moved (or been moved) away from its position of dominance • loss not only of numbers • but of power and influence within society. • Rather than occupying a central and influential place, North American Christian churches are increasingly marginalized, • in our urban areas they represent a minority movement • It is now a truism to speak of North America as a mission field. • Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America, Edited by Darrell Guder, the Gospel and Our Culture Network
Missio Dei – “Mission of God” • The real problem is much more deeply rooted than programmatic and methodological solutions. • It has to do with who we are and what we are for. • The real issues of the church are spiritual and theological. • In The Other Side of 1984: Questions for the Churches Bishop Leslie Newbigin analyzed the challenge presented by the changing context of Western society. • What had once been a Christendom society was now clearly post-Christian and in many ways anti-Christian. • The missiological consensus that Newbigin focused on may be summarized with the term mission Dei, “mission of God”.
Missional Church • “The Church exists to serve God’s Mission” Mission as Missio Dei, UCC Committee on Structure, 1992 • The church of Jesus Christ is the instrument and sign of God’s mission and realm. • God’s mission is calling and sending us, the church of Jesus Christ, to be a missionary church in our own societies, in the cultures in which we find ourselves.
Who are we and what are we for? • The church of Jesus Christ is not the purpose or goal of the gospel. God’s mission embraces all of creation. “God so loved the world” is the emphasis of the beloved gospel summary in John 3:16. This does not mean that the church is not essential to God’s work of salvation – it is. But it is essential as God’s chosen people “who are blessed to be a blessing to the nations.”
Missional Challenge for Church • This is challenge for the Church: • Neither the structures nor theology of Western traditional churches is missional. • We have been shaped by the legacy of Christendom. • Formed by centuries in which Western civilization considered itself formally and officially Christian. • Christendom – the system of church-state partnership and cultural hegemony in which the Christian religion was protected and privileged religion of society and the church its legally established institutional form.
Difference between church with mission and missional church • Mission in 20th Century became program of church • Mission boards emerged • Mission workers became professional • Mission ‘work’ become financial support • Mission arena was someplace else • Our challenge today is to move from church with mission to missional church.
What is Missional Church? Mission is not a program or project some people in the church do from time to time; the church’s very nature is to be God’s missionary people. We use the word missional to mark this big difference. Mission is not a project or a budget, or an event somewhere; it’s not even about sending missionaries. A missional church is a community of God’s people who live into the imagination that they are, by their very nature, God’s missionary people living as a demonstration of what God plans to do in and for all of creation in Jesus Christ. The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World
Missional Church outreach to community and neighborhood • God is still speaking to us in culture and community. • God’s purpose is that our communities are not forsaken or the land desolate. • Church no longer center of community, but it can be good neighbor. • Church can accompany community to be all that God’s realm would want the community to be.
Theology makes a difference in missional focus • Mainline Protestant and historically black denomination churches engage with their communities by caring for others and advocating on behalf of those in need. • Conservative Protestants typically involve worshipers talking about their faith and inviting people to participate in community of faith. • Strong congregations balance their attention between both.
Vital congregations discern God’s call and mission • The greatest characteristic of a vital missional congregation is the ability to articulate and live God’s purpose. • What is God calling this church to be and do at this time, in this place, with the gifts we have on this corner of God’s realm that we are placed?
Missional Statement – Branding message No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. Never put a period where God has put a comma
Missional Statement – Branding message Cathedral of Hope • The Mission of the Cathedral of Hope is to reclaim Christianity as a faith of extravagant grace, radical inclusion and relentless compassion. We are a people of compassion We are a people of inclusion We are a people of liberation We are a people of hope We are a people of Jesus
Missional Statement – Branding message • First Grace UCC, Akron OH • First grace…..then faith and works! • First Congregtional UCC Santa Rosa • Making God’s love visible • Others • Strangers no more • Jesus loves you…this we know! • Keeping faith, reaching out, welcoming all! • In the Heart of the City with the City in our Heart • A Church Just for You, A Just Church for You!
Missional in Purpose • What is Your Mission Statement? • Mission Statement should be: • 7 – 9 words or less • Engaging • Compelling • Visionary • True
Exploring Your Congregation’s Vitality UCCvitality.org (ucc.org/vitality)