Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Mission - Vision and Mission for 2008

Hey Missionaries,

What a great year this has been! Wendy and I are so blessed to see this Church grow as God continues to speak to us and lead us onward. I keep saying that I'm living the dream and I really believe it's true. Yesterday it was so awesome to see God moving in our midst and speaking to and through us to minister to one another. We're so excited about what God is doing!

As we look forward to 2008, I've been praying about what God would have us to focus on for the next 12 months. Here's what I’ve been hearing from God about so far:

First, I believe God wants us to continue on our previous path of learning what it means to love others as Jesus does. Developing a heart like Jesus is a key spiritual discipline for all of us and we're all still taking baby steps in this area as we learn how hard it can really be. The uncommon love that Jesus modeled, and commanded us to have for others, is something that we cannot hope to emulate without a supernatural touch from God. (See 1 Cor 12 & 13). This next year I believe that God would have us continue in this direction towards discovering how to love those closest to us, and as we go, to add to that a love for those on the outer edge of our concentric circles.

Second, I've been reminded again of the motto of the early church -"Conversatio Morem!" which can mean either "Death to the Status Quo!" or "Constant Conversion!" I think our calling as followers of Jesus is to daily walk the aisle, bend our knee and surrender our lives to Jesus. This is what a true "Death to the Status Quo" involves and without this almost everything else we attempt to do will fail.

Thirdly, Jesus instructed his disciples (in Matthew 6) not to worry about the daily cares of the day but to instead seek first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness (or "being made right with God"). We need to take our eyes off the problems around us, and the worries of our daily lives, and start seeking the Kingdom of God first. Let's encourage one another as we seek first the Kingdom of God this year.

Fourthly, one of the most important things for each of us to understand in the Body of Christ is where we "fit" into the framework. According to 1 Corinthians 12, God has put the Body together using various people like us of varying spiritual gifts and talents for the purpose of building up the Body into a healthy representation of Christ on Earth (among other things). This year I'd love for us to identify everyone's specific spiritual gift and encourage each other in learning how to exercise our gifts so that the entire Body can be healthy and grow as it should.

Some of us already know our basic spiritual gift, but others still don't know yet. Discovering what these are and how to operate in your gifting is very important for all of us. I look forward to helping everyone understand their gifting and begin to put it into practice this year.

As a pastor, I also have a desire to encourage each of you in your own personal mission and calling. It may be closely-related to your spiritual gift, but it may not. Again, some of us already know our personal calling and mission but some of us still don't, and that's ok. We're all learning and growing together. This is what makes the adventure worth it!

So, to condense all of that, here's what I feel God is urging us to pursue in the new year:

*Concentric Circles of Love- Same as last year, only better.

*Conversatio Morem! - We all need a "Constant Conversion" where, daily, we go forward and bend our knee to surrender our lives to Christ.

*Seeking First The Kingdom- What is the Kingdom? How do we enter the Kingdom? How do we see the Kingdom of God in our actual lives? How do we develop a Kingdom-perspective?

*Helping One Another Discover Our Spiritual Gifting and Calling.

And also…
*Deeper Spiritual Intimacy-

I've also felt a strong need for us all to develop a greater spiritual intimacy together. This involves several areas where I would encourage us to spend more time together outside of the Thursday or Sunday gathering. We need one another. This means being accessible and spending time together just having fun, being family and eating together. Invite someone over. Hang out. Know and be known.

In the same way, I've also become convinced that we need to cultivate a greater spiritual intimacy within our ministry times. This will involve a slight change to our regular meetings where we'll have time to break up into smaller groups of men and women in order to minister to one another and facilitate a deeper level of sharing and of encouraging one another in the faith.

Our church is now two years old! I can hardly believe it. This has been the best thing I’ve ever done with the word "Church" on it!

Just this last year our little church was able to give away thousands dollars to help many, many people in practical ways. Even our motel Christmas ministry a few weeks ago was an amazing testimony to how God has multiplied our humble efforts to serve people and give 100% of our offerings and tithes to benefit the poor.

*Note: I'll have a year-end update for everyone soon on the total amount of money given to the Mission basket and the total amount spent, with specifics whenever appropriate.

I know that as we continue to seek His face, and to daily surrender to Him, and to walk in the direction He has laid out before us, we will see even more amazing things in the coming year and beyond.

It's an honor to "be the Church" with each of you.

Blessings to you all and Happy New Year!


Keith Giles

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