Over the past several months our parish has been making our way through a strategic planning process under the leadership of vestry and our strategic planning committee. These endevours can be an exercise in frustration and some of you whoo have taken part in such processes my be pulling out your hair at the mere mention of the term “strategic planning”. Though its been hard work we are seeing the fruit of our labour. We have consulted widely throughout the parish and taken into account previous reports. What we have come up with is a new mission statement that is concise and easy to remember: Living to the Glory of God. We also have three strategic directions: come, grow, go. We are still in the process of putting flesh on the bones of this strategy as a vestry, a parish, and as various ministry groups in the parish. But one of the things we have to wrestle with is what does it mean to live to the glory of God?
Anglican writer Harold Percy defines living to the glory of God as, “to live in such a way that we enhance God’s reputation in the world. As the church, our calling is to live in such a way that we represent God well, so that those who are estranged from God (whether through indifference, misinformation, or even hostility) will be attracted to and welcome God into their lives.” When I was chaplain at Memorial University people would ask “So what exactly does a university chaplain do?” To which my response always was, “Well we’re God’s PR people on campus.” This I think is what Percy is trying to get at; the church is in the PR business, God’s PR. This is a process, something we are working toward, a journey. How do we do this? We do it as we Come together and invite others to join us as a community of followers of Jesus Christ. We do it as we Grow in worship, learning, service, fellowship, sharing our resources. We do it as we Go out into our circle of family and friends, our neighbourhoods, into the world to proclaim in word and action the gospel, the good news that God is for us and not against us and that through the resurrection of Jesus God is making all things new. It is helpful to view all that we do in the church in the light of “Living to the Glory of God” as we come, grow, and go.
How is your faith community living to the glory of God?