In our Session meetings, we often talk about who we are, and who we believe God wants us to be in the future. So I've been thinking about what defines us as a church.
Our website gives some ideas about that. It says:
We are a Presbyterian Church (USA) of Purpose, Prayer, Presence, Power, and People. We know that it is not about us, but about God working through us so that we can:
Teach as Jesus taught
Pray as Jesus prayed
Serve as Jesus served
Love as Jesus loves.
We are here for the strong and the sturdy, the lost and the lonely, the battered and the bored, as well as the bruised and the broken. At First Presbyterian Church, you will be cared for, and you will be called upon to care for others.
God does not call the equipped, but God equips the called.
Wow. That's a lot of words!
If you were surfing for local churches, and you read this, what would you think about First Presbyterian Church of Valparaiso?
The truth is that mission statements are hard to write. It's difficult to describe in words who we are. We are so many things! We are worshipers, prayers, servants, givers, studiers of the Word, sisters and brothers in the Spirit.
We are sinners saved by grace, disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are connectional, united with other denominational churches as we strive to serve God together. We're also missional, a church that has committed to giving a full 10% of our budget to local and global ministries.
All of these words are true. But there are so many more things that we are that cannot be pinned down in a few lines on a website.
We are five confirmands, declaring what they believe in front of their church family.
We are two dedicated men who taught these young people - and many others through the years - what it means to be a Christian.
We are Deacons who bring the love of Christ and our church family to those unable to attend services.
We are the Christian Education ministry unit that filled 3,500 Easter eggs for children in our community.
We are the family of three that volunteered to lead Vacation Bible School this June.
We are singers and musicians who give their time and talents in helping us to make a joyful noise on Sunday mornings.
We are members of the prayer chain, committed to praying for those in need of God's help and mercies.
We are the men and women who keep the Resale Shop running for the sole purpose of helping those in need.
We are people who make sure that those who mourn the loss of loved ones have a meal to share, along with memories.
We are members of small groups who study the Word and encourage one another to grow in faith.
We are a circle of women creating prayer shawls for those in need of comfort.
We are all of this... and so much more.
1 Peter 3:15 reads: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." Wise counsel.
But I'd like to pose a different challenge to you: Always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks why you attend First Presbyterian Church of Valpo.
Sister, Brother...what defines who we are for you?
Lou Ann Karabel