Who We Are
As we have been navigating the uncertain waters we find ourselves in recently, I have given a lot of thought into the values that make us tick. As I wrote last week, pastoring a church like ours is a humbling experience. Your generosity and faithfulness have defied all odds and surpassed expectation. Because of you, we are growing stronger, even as many other organizations (both for profit and non-profit) are struggling to survive.
First of all, I attribute this growth to the grace of God. While I don’t understand why this grace has been so freely bestowed upon us, I recognize that grace is rarely easy to understand. I have learned not to question it, but simply to give thanks for it!
Even so, I do believe there are certain attributes that make this church unique. These attributes, I believe, are a product of some very important core values that shape who we are and how we do ministry. I have been working the last few days to define what I believe those to be. I would like to share those findings here:
Grace. Grace that is freely received is freely given. Above all else, St. Philip’s is a community of grace. We not only proclaim the power of God’s grace to save us, but we actively work to be vehicles of grace in the lives of others. This is reflected in the way we care for each other, forgive one another, and serve our community and world. As an example, our Board voted this week to donate the cost of the house that we had hoped to build in Guatemala this summer.
Innovation. This is not to say that we are always on the cutting edge of what’s “new”, but that we have created a culture in which it’s ok to fail for the sake of trying something different. Our staff is continually invited to rethink how ministry is done for the sake of reaching more people in a more effective way. This means that we make some mistakes, but we are constantly striving to fail forward. Our desire is not perfection, but effectiveness.
Integrity. Thriving in a culture that is built on effectiveness and the willingness to fail in order to make something better rests on the ability to take responsibility for our actions. Moving forward means learning from our mistakes, and learning requires ownership of the things that we do, good and bad. Character counts. Our church takes this into our community through everything that we do – never pretending to be something that we are not, while leaning passionately into the things that we believe in.
Passion. We are excited about what we do because we believe in what we do. Every worship service is an expression of that passion, as we praise the name of Jesus and proclaim the message of His saving love. The same is true for our Bible studies, children’s and youth programming and mission trips. Even our Board Meetings reflect a passion for channeling our collective resources toward the furthering of our mission. Being the Church isn’t a status, it’s a calling. And it’s a calling not just for those who are on staff, but for all who march on the front lines of our faith, as you lead in your homes, communities and places of work.
This is who we are. This is what drives us forward. Thanks be to God! - Pastor Jason