Martin Luther described the Holy Bible as the "cradle of Christ"...in other words: The Manger.
Not only at the Christmas stable, but all year-round,
God's people are fed at this Holy Cradle.
We are nourished at this Holy Table.
We are watered at this Holy Font.

This blog is a virtual gathering space where sermons from Bethlehem Lutheran Church (ELCA) and conversation around those weekly Scripture texts may be shared.

We use the Revised Common Lectionary so you can see what readings will be coming up, and know that we are joining with Christians around the globe "eating" the same texts each Sunday.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

What is BLC’s Mission and Vision?

Dear Bethlehem, I’m sorry — I’m guessing you may have been asked some form of this question a time or two in recent years, as you’ve journeyed through pastoral and congregational changes.  I know that our most recent official mission statement is “Building lives — through worship, mission and connection.” But honestly, I haven’t talked to too many who have much to say about it, or even know it.  
Anyway, I am asking a different kind of question; I’m not wondering if you can recite what was voted on a while back (if you voted on it)...

Here are my working definitions of mission vs. vision statements:

mission statement says “who we are (right now)”.  It’s not about what we fancy ourselves to be, or where we’ve been in the past.  Rather this reflects who we are as God’s faithful people...in this moment.  Bethlehem is a lot of good things...in this moment.  Amid all our hopes and dreams for the future, and any sadness or frustrations about the past, who are we right now?  How would you answer that about BLC?  (It may be helpful to get at this by trying to imagine how God — as opposed to me or you — might describe us right now: beloved, forgiven, welcoming, quilted together in love, etc.)  

Then, a vision statement says “where we are going”.  Like Moses or Martin Luther King Jr., we might not ever get there.  But a vision statement is most definitely clear about our direction.  My favorite example from the secular world is Microsoft:  Their vision statement a few years ago was "to put a Microsoft computer in every home in America."  Probably not possible — they might not ever get there — but you know exactly where they're going and what they’re all about.  What is Bethlehem definitely all about, even if we have yet to arrive?

How I would love to retreat to the mountains for a couple days with you all and delve into this conversation at one of our Lutheran camps, with a bible and a guitar nearby, sipping coffee or wine.  But alas, life is busy.  And we probably need to settle for a virtual fireside chat...  

So I am asking a couple things of you:

a) Please pray about this for at least a day, first.
b) Then, write a bit about 'who Bethlehem is right now' as God’s faithful people in Fairfax.  What are the unique gifts that describe us...today?  (Mission)
3) Write a bit about what you believe God is calling us to be all about.  Where are we going?  (Vision)
4) Pray and let this marinate for at least another day before hitting the final “send”.  (Think of this not as homework with a deadline, but soul work).

May I share your responses?  

Grace and peace, 
Pastor Dan

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