TCBC’s mission statement has directed our ministry from our first Bible study over a decade ago. I reproduce it here for your edification and thoughts:
“Tri-County Bible Church exists to glorify God by exalting the Lord, evangelizing the lost, and edifying the body of Christ. Every ministry we carry out is designed to meet that objective, and every member is essential to its fulfillment.”
Were we writing it today, we’d include the centrality of the cross of Jesus Christ, which is assumed, but not clearly stated. However, we believe that it is helpful in that it is doxological (we exist to glorify God; Eph. 1:12; 3:21) but also practical: it describes how we seek to glorify God. We also believe that it’s comprehensive, addressing our upward focus on God (exaltation), our outward focus on the unsaved (evangelism), and our inward focus on the church (edification).
We emphasize our purpose statement as part of our Orientation class for every new member, allowing them to help us push in that direction from the get go. We also highlight it each week in our bulletin. However, far from being merely a slogan on a back wall (alas, we have no back wall!) or letterhead, our statement of purpose has been useful in the real-life, day-to-day ministry of the church. It has allowed us to evaluate why we’re doing what we’re doing (the deadening answer “because that’s what churches do” is no answer!). Considering how every individual ministry contributes to our ultimate goal has helped us “keep our eyes on the ball,” and sometimes caused us to eliminate ministry ideas that really don’t fit under the umbrella of our purpose statement. Almost as importantly, it has allowed us to measure how we’re doing at what we’re doing! For example, are we focusing on one goal to the exclusion of others? It’s a great measuring stick for us.
Give it some thought! Use it. Adapt it. Improve upon it. But whatever you do, think about it. Local church ministry must be intentional, and crafting and applying such a statement can insure that it is.
Note: This was brought to mind today by this article by John MacArthur. While he seems to agree with the basic principles, he argues that evangelism must take the priority over the other purposes:
“The supreme purpose and motive of every individual believer and every body of believers is to glorify God, and the supreme way in which God chose to glorify Himself was through the redemption of sinful men. It is through participation in that redemptive plan that believers themselves most glorify God.” (emphasis his)
I’m not sure that I agree. I’m certainly not wanting to deemphasize evangelism, but I’d be hard-pressed to argue that it is clearly more of a priority than worship or the ministry of the Word to the body. It’s sort of like saying breathing is more important than eating or sleeping. Actually, all 3 are indispensable, right? To change analogies, I often compare the 3 focuses of exaltation, evangelism, and edification to a 3-legged stool; if any one of the legs is short, you’re out of balance, and probably headed for a rough landing.
Filed under: Devotional Thoughts, Ministry Musings, The Local Church Tagged: | doxology, edification, Evangelism, exaltation, John MacArthur, The Local Church, the purpose of the church, Tri-County Bible Church