Wow, I have gotten some great comments on the mission statement. I appreciate all of your thoughts. I have received a number of personal e-mails as well as comments on the blog. I especially want to thank TJ and Ang for making me think through some of this. "Thank you!"
One thing that I noticed is that the statement is way to long. A good friend of mine in the ministry made a great point. This statement is something that you will want your church to regurgitate easily. The mission statement will have to definitely be condensed in order to capture what you are looking to do but also be simple enough to remember.
There seemed to be a few comments about the lack of emphasis on OUTSIDE the church. Let me reply to them.
The bible is clear that the emphasis is always to be on the outside of the church. Without that, I would say that we fail to be the church. The ministry that the church does outside the walls will be the heartbeat of what I envision doing and what I feel that God is calling me to do. It is crazy to me that people are satisfied for spending 1 hour at a service 1 day a week and feel like they did something. Church isn't in a building, Church is who we are. I wrote a blog a few months back titles "Worship is a Lifestyle" which speaks to this. http://chewningjourney.blogspot.com/2008/06/worship-is-lifestyle.html
However I think that scripture teaches that Jesus' church exists for 3 reasons. 1. To see people experience regeneration and receive the indwelling of the holy spirit. (AKA. Be saved by Jesus, receive forgiveness of sin and spend eternity with him in Heaven and not apart from him in Hell) 2. To edify the body of believers (This is through the corporate worshiping of Jesus, accountability, prayer, encouragement of one another, etc) 3. To serve the outside community BOTH individually and collectively. (This can be done in a variety of ways.)
This brings up another good question: Do we want people to come to church to hear the Gospel? Or, do we want to equip our people in smaller groups to share the Gospel in their personal lives?
I think that given the right structure of your church, you can do both and do both well. In Acts 2 you see people gathering in smaller groups at homes where the believers would gather and eat, share belongings, pray with each other and for each other. But then again, you see in the same chapter Peter delivering his 1st sermon in which 3000 people come to faith and get baptized. They came to faith because they heard someone explain the gospel. At the end of the day a believer and non-believer need the same thing. We need to repent of sin, be encouraged to run after Jesus, and empowered to live missionally. Concerning the small groups, we need the small groups as well. Small groups in the NT were for doing life together, accountability, and encouraging each other to go out into our world and live missionally. Same is true today, that is what we need in our small groups today.
This now brings up another great question: When you think about the gathering of the church, should the purpose be to focus on evangelizing outsiders or on the edification of the Body?
The purpose the church comes together in scripture is for worship and edification, you are definitely correct. However, in scripture those gatherings were all believers. Statistics tell us that there will be very few church services where it is a gathering of "All Believers". Therefore, we need to take advantage of the opportunity and evangelize. I believe a good preacher should be able to both edify and evangelize in 1 sermon. In no way, am I saying I do this all of the time, however, I am saying this is my goal.
Here's my point: The healthiest churches (not the largest) are the ones that can do both of what we are talking about with excellence b/c they are seeing people come to Christ in large groups and then they have the ability and leadership to empower them to live missionally in smaller groups. How cool is that!
Here's a video that touches on this a little. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58fgkfS6E-0