I love the headline that the Daily Herald chose for the print article they published about Dave and my new book. The headline read, “We’re in This Together.” They were referring to the fact that Dave and I started Community over 25 years ago and still lead the church together, but the headline also referred to the title of our book and Community’s mission statement: “Helping people find their way back to God.”
I have realized over and over again since the book was released just how people seem to resonate with this idea of finding their way back to God. Hardly a days go by where I don’t hear someone make a comment about themselves or someone they know finding their way back to God. And so, not only do I love the title of this new book, “Finding Your Way Back to God,” for several reasons I love that it continues to be the mission of our church in Chicago.
1) HPFTWBTG Speaks To A Journey. We never fully arrive because we are always finding our way back to God. In the series of weekend messages we just completed at Community, we said over again that finding your way back to God is a life-changing moment as well as a life-long process. And since we’re all on this journey, our mission statement makes a project out of no one. As the headline in the Daily Herald read: “We’re In This Together.”
2) HPFTWBTG Tells A Story. In a phrase, this mission statement conveys the big idea of one of the greatest stores in all of literature – The Story of the Prodigal Son. Our young church was just 18 months old when we heard Lyman Coleman, at a small group training conference, tell the story of the prodigal son. He reminded us that we are all prodigals and that there are prodigals in all of our neighborhoods and communities who desperately want to find their way back to God. People relate to stories, and the story of the prodigal son is your story and my story. It is our story.
3) HPFTWBTG is From Scripture. In his second letter to the church in Corinth, the Apostle Paul, a prodigal himself, writes: “When anyone lives in Christ, the new creation has come. The old is gone! The new is here! All this is from God. He brought us back to himself through Christ’s death on the cross. And he has given us the task of bringing others back to him through Christ. God was bringing the world back to himself through Christ. He did not hold people’s sins against them. God has trusted us with the message that people may be brought back to him. So we are Christ’s official messengers. It is as if God were making his appeal through us. Here is what Christ wants us to beg you to do. Come back to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:17-20 NIRV)
4) HPFTWBTG is Short And Memorable. Several years ago, author and speaker Ed Stetzer visited one of Community’s locations for a weekend celebration service. Afterwards, he along with Dave and I had lunch at a local restaurant. Ed began the conversation by saying, “Thirteen times . . . no less than thirteen times did I hear someone use the phrase ‘Helping people find their way back to God’ this morning. From the the greeters at the door to the announcements on stage to the message given by the teaching pastor.” Most everyone at Community knows our mission statement. I read an article awhile back in the Harvard Business Review where the author said that a good, memorable mission statement needs to be 8 words or less.
For those reasons and more, I love our mission statement of “Helping people find their way back to God”