(This is part 1 of a series on the mission statement of the Presbytery of Chicago)
Presbytery of Chicago Mission Statement
Pursuing worship, service, and communities of justice, we are the Presbytery of Chicago, flourishing together by relating people, neighbors, and churches to one another in Christ Jesus.
Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Philippians 3:12
When running track in high school and college, I was taught to run through the finish line, not just to run to it. The goal is to run through the tape at the end. This means leaning forward and forcing the tired legs to lift higher and the fatigued arms to pump faster. This is why athletes often fall over the finish line in track meets as they are leaning forward and striving until the end.
This is also why “pursuing” is the first word in the mission statement. It means we have not finished the race, but are still running, striving, and pushing for excellence in worship, service, and communities of justice. To be in pursuit is to declare we are still becoming, we are reformed and still reforming. In what ways is your congregation striving to improve worship, service, and participation in communities of justice?
Worship, service, and being in communities of justice involves interaction with others. The mission statement values relationships and connections. Being church is communal. Being the Presbytery of Chicago is connectional. How is your church connecting with its neighbors? What communities beyond your neighborhood does your church connect with?
In addition to connecting with local communities, the mission statement of the Presbytery of Chicago must address broader issues in Chicagoland. Pursuing communities of justice is to strive and be a part of spaces that stand against racism, classism, violence, and the destruction of the environment. These are values of the Presbytery of Chicago, and to be a member of the presbytery means holding these values while connecting with others in communities of justice who share these same values. What issues of justice does your congregation address?
My prayer this Lenten season is that each session takes seriously what it means to be in pursuit of worship, service, and communities of justice. Amen.