Forget What is Behind and Strain Toward What is Ahead1
As we transition from summer into a busy fall, one particular passage has been on my mind. In chapter 3 of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, the Apostle to the Gentiles writes,
I want to know Christ - yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
What an incredibly humble attitude from a man who travelled upwards of 10,000 miles to communicate the love of God through Jesus Christ!
This fall we will begin to live into a Vision Process that members of the staff and Session have worked on for nearly two years. We have interviewed new members and charter members, engaged congregational surveys and led focus groups, read books and attended meetings (yes, lots of meetings!) to debate the nuances of what certain words convey. And though some work still needs to be done, in the late Spring we settled on a new Mission Statement for Good Shepherd:
To invite all people to grow into a Christ-centered life in God’s family
It’s our conviction that this statement communicates and clarifies our many efforts in mission and ministry. In fact, you may have heard members of our leadership team mention it here or there in the past few months. I’ve certainly said it in sermons!
While we will explore what this new mission statement means for us over the coming weeks, months, and years, take a moment now and reflect: How are you inviting all people to grow into a Christ-centered life in God’s family? It’s a big goal, isn’t it!?
Inviting all people!?
To grow into a Christ-centered life!?
Receiving and recognizing adoption into God’s family!?
Living into a mission statement like this will require all of us to embody Paul’s statement to the Philippians, to "forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead, to press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." May we do so in His grace and by His power.