We’re a church of all ages and stages, who worship in different ways, at different times, sometimes in different buildings! But we are united by all being followers of Jesus, and wanting to help others to follow him too. We talk about our vision looking at Scripture, Story and Signs.
In Mark 12, v30 -31, when Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment he replies, talking about the essence of what it is to be a disciple:
“The most important one is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
We also read in Matthew 28, v18 – 20, that we’re all called to help other people follow Jesus, and be his disciples too.
‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We can’t do one, without the other. Being a follower of Jesus Christ, means patterning our lives after Jesus, and seeking to love both God and those around us wholeheartedly. But that’s only part of the story; as we see in the lives of the disciples in the early church, they followed, but as well as being disciples, they also learned how to make disciples.
So the two go together, hand in hand: ‘Being Disciples, Making Disciples.’
As well as two ‘great’ scriptures, the Greatest Commandment, and the Great Commission, our vision is also grounded in our story. We are part of an amazing eternal story, in which we are called by Jesus into incredible personal relationship with God, where we can find salvation, purpose, hope, love and freedom. Isn’t that amazing? That God calls us, and knows us? Yet he also sends us. That’s where we draw on the second part of our story, where we find our ‘spiritual DNA,’ our local story.
We look back at the life of Octavius Hadfield who was called and sent, and lived amongst the local Iwi, living out and speaking out the values and life of the Gospel, supporting what God was already doing amongst the Tangata Whenua. His story reminds us that we are historically a church that is ‘sent’, not to be a church that is happy keeping God in the four walls of our church buildings. We also look back at the life of Wi Parata, who gifted the land for St Luke’s: at his foresight and generosity.
It’s a compelling story that weaves together with those two bible passages reminding us of who we are, and what we’re called to.
So what does this look like? We look for Signs of this vision being outworked:
What might a church look like that has the vision of ‘being disciples, and making disciples’ at its heart?
We have four signs that we will keep looking for:
1) That we will be a church that prioritises Prayer, and Listening to God, which in turn leads us into greater obedience. (John 10, v27)
2) That we will be a church that prioritises the building of Community, and Relationship, which in turn leads us into deeper commitment to each other and those around us. (John 13, v34-35)
3) That we will be a church of Hospitality and Welcome, which we pray leads to restoration: a place where people experience the welcome of Jesus through us. (Psalm 68, v6a)
4) That we will be a people of Generosity and Blessing, who give out of all we have been given by God, and share our stories of his love and generosity in our lives, which we pray leads to transformation: of hearts, minds and lives, communities and all of creation. (Matt.10:v8)
So we have scriptures, stories and signs, that remind us of who God has called us to be.
Do we manage it, and get it right all of the time? No! We are just trying to work out with God’s help, what it is to follow Jesus and to help others do the same in this beautiful part of the world we live in.
If you want more information, the documents below explain our vision in different ways, or listen to http://www.anglican.co.nz/sermons/parish-vision-being-disciples-making-disciples-tim-bustin/ or http://www.anglican.co.nz/sermons/parish-vision-being-disciples-making-disciples-pt-2-tim-bustin/