“Mission is the church in motion.”

This quote from German theologian Helmut Golwitzer was how we began our time of adult faith formation last night, led beautifully by our Associate Pastor for Youth, Adults, and Missions, John Thornton, and our Missions Committee Chair, Joani Hughes. The Missions Committee has been hard at work these last six months, adding the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ to the Missions Committee directive in their job description to “promote missions and administer the missions funds of First Baptist.”

The result of such remarkable work is what they’re calling the Missions Committee Guidelines, a ‘road map’ of sorts to direct this Committee, future committees, and our church, on how we are to be that church in motion. John equated it to the map or the owner’s manual that you might put in your glove compartment as you set out on a trip — there to guide you as you navigate detours, and to assist you as you deal with flat tires or warning lights. As committees turnover or staff assignments change over time, their hope is that this document gives greater clarity for specificity of outcome but flexibility in implementation, clarity that will stretch well into our future of missional movement.

They also acknowledged that while our resources have changed over the years — human resources of time and capacity, financial resources to undergird the work — our long-standing commitment to missions is as intrinsic to our DNA as a congregation as anything. Joani remembered coming to First Baptist in the 1960s as a college student, and being so proud that her church was deeply involved in giving birth to organizations like Crisis Control and Samaritan Ministries. That mattered to her, and it has mattered to so many of us. The Missions Committee hopes their work on these guidelines will allow us to deepen our missions involvement and impact in the community by focusing our efforts and streamlining the process. In so doing, their hope is that our church’s long commitment to innovation and creativity in missions can be honored and interpreted anew.

I will let the Committee’s clear and eloquent words, so thoughtfully grounded in scripture and deep theological insight, inform and inspire you by not summarizing them here! You can find the full guidelines at this link: https://firstonfifth.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/2018-First-on-Fifth-Missions-Committee-Guidelines-1.pdf

Please read these, jot down whatever questions you may have, and come back next Wednesday for our second conversation with the Missions Committee. You can also email questions to John at jthornton@firstonfifth.org. May we be in motion for the sake of Love!

Together in the work of Love,
Pastor Emily

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