Vision Part 1 – Who are we?

I was recently reading an article by Rick Warren titled “7 Ways to Help Others Understand the Vision.”  As part of the Healthy Church Initiative (HCI) process we developed and announced a new vision.  I have written about it, held 7 group meetings to discuss it and did a follow-up mailing to the homes of folks who could not attend.  And still I and our team are asked if I am going to announce the vision to the church.

In Patrick Lencioni’s book The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive he talks about creating organizational clarity and utilizing cascading communication to foster greater clarity.  This 7 part blog series is designed to develop greater clarity for us as a church.

Let me begin by naming for you our vision statement because it is our calling to live each day so that we (North Star Church) might glorify God.

“Fostering new and growing relationships with God and others through worship, learning, service and witness.”

In order to make this come alive for us, I want to address the first way that will help create deeper understanding of this vision – Who is North Star Church?

We are a United Methodist worship community.  Our doctrine, our discipline, our polity, and our affiliation is with the world-wide United Methodist Church (UMC).  The grace of this is our unique identity within the broad umbrella of the UMC.  The best way to describe us is “we are not your grandparents traditional UM church.”  So let’s flip-flop this and let me tell you what we are.

1)  We are a modern worship community that believes people should come as they are – in other words you can wear a suit or dress to worship but you might be the only one in a suit or dress.  We are casual simply because we do not want dress to be a barrier to anyone attending worship with us.

2)  We utilize sermon series that build-up and challenge us in faith and practice, that develop thoughts and habits that are congruent with biblical teaching, and that also highlight the essential seasons of the church calendar (i.e. Advent and Lent)

3)  We are a “beyond the walls” church – we believe in being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ serving the least among us.  We have several mission projects that are anonymous while also having service opportunities that help us personally engage those being served.

4)  We are a multi-generational church with an emphasis on family centric ministry.  This is a hostile world that we live in and the church is a haven of love and grace.  Our intention is to experience this is in such a profound way that we naturally invite others to join us because we are not the only people looking for a refuge from the world.

5)  We are a nomadic church – I know, what does that mean?  We have pitched our tent in 9,000 square feet of leased space.  Our church operates out of a light industrial/commercial store front space next to Fun Run, Value Stay hotel and Central Power Systems off of Church Rd. in Liberty.  We do not own and operate our ministry out of a traditional church building and sanctuary.  But you know what – the church isn’t a building – it is the people who call themselves disciples of Jesus Christ – that is the church.  Our view is that facilities only facilitate worship, learning, programs and ministry – but a building is not our identity.

6)  Finally – we are more of a family than a group of cliques.  Our vision is to build relationships and that means that we are moving beyond being a friendly church and into a place where you can make new friends.

Yes we believe in all the rest – we believe in the Bible, we believe in the call to worship God, we believe that all are called, gifted, and empowered to serve, we believe in generosity, in discipleship as a path, in service to others, fellowship, and witness.  And we believe in the power of fostering new and growing relationships.

So if someone asks who we are – You can say “A 14-year-old start-up church that is trying to foster meaningful relationships with busy but weary families.”

I hope this paints a clear picture of who we are as a church, a worship community.  Next week I will talk about direction – where we are going as a church.

Until then, blessings for the journey.

About Jim Hoffman

Pastor, teacher, leader, novice blogger, wanna be author and Christian conversationalist. Passionate about environmental architecture - creating spaces where people can foster new or growing relationships with each other and God. Currently leads a faith community on Ward Parkway in Kansas City and happily married to Margaret. Blessed with four adult children and two grandsons.
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