St. Matthews Baptist Church will be a vibrant faith community, demonstrating the love of Christ, becoming vital to the life and hope of our city.
Together we will:
- Renew our congregation
- Reimagine our church
- Refresh our campus
- Refocus our communication
- Reconnect with our city
In Isaiah 49, the prophet is discouraged. God tells him the reason you are discouraged is because your vision isn’t big enough. I am going to make you more than a light to Israel; I want to make you a light to the nations. In other words, Isaiah, dream a bigger dream.
As a church, we don’t want to simply focus on what we can do by our own power. Our prayer is that God would work in such a way as to leave no doubt He is in this, accomplishing more through us than we could even dream on our own.
Our Mission Statement
Our mission statement remains unchanged. It declares our purpose as “Loving and Leading people into a Growing relationship with Jesus.” A mission statement is basically a written down reason for being. It describes who we are, and what motivates our actions. We want everything we do to be about Loving and Leading people into a Growing relationship with Jesus.
Our mission statement is built around two passages of scripture: The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40) As a church, we want the fulfillment of these two mandates to be foundational to everything we do.
Our Vision Statement
A vision statement describes what we believe God wants to accomplish through us to help build God’s kingdom. It paints a picture of how we believe God is leading us to accomplish our mission.
Our vision statement is built around 1 Corinthians 13. Paul tells the church at Corinth it could be involved in all sorts of great activities, but if love isn’t the driving force, what does it matter? At the end of the chapter, he says, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV)
As you read our vision statement you’ll see all three of those values, expressing our desire to be a church that models faith, hope, and love. At the center of our vision statement is the greatest of them all—love.
We want to be a vibrant faith community. This means we are growing in our faith, falling so madly in love with Jesus that it drives everything we do. It also means we are growing in love for one another, becoming a true community of believers, living in unity.
We will demonstrate the love of Christ to each other, and to the world around us. We want to do more than simply declare, “God loves you and so do we.” In our cynical culture, we must demonstrate the love of Christ before many people will believe it.
And, we want to be vital to the life and hope of our city. This connects us to a Jesus who loved the city of Jerusalem so much He wept over it. We want to have the same brokenness and desperation over the lostness of our city. Further, we want to impact our community in such a powerful way that, if we were to go away, people would grieve our absence and would long for another organization or church to rise up and fill the void that would be left.
These are big dreams, to be sure, but we have a big God, who is more than able to work through people like us to change a community, a city, a nation, even a world.
Our vision statement paints a picture of how we think God is leading us to carry out that mission in the future. That is covered by the second part of the statement.
Together we will renew our congregation. This is a focus on spiritual growth. 2 Chronicles 7:14 reminds us, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Renewal begins with God’s people. The movement is inside-out. We must become more intentional about helping people take next steps of growth in their faith journey. We want to be a prayer-driven church.
Together we will reimagine our church. SMBC has a great history of creativity and innovation. We led the way in creating a Parents Day Out program more than 50 years ago. We were on the cutting edge of adding an orchestra to worship. We want to continue that tradition. What administrative processes set a strong foundation for our ministries? What new ministries must we create to better serve our community? At the same time, what existing ministries need renewal? We must also have the courage to ask what we need to stop doing in order to focus energy on key priorities.
Together we will refresh our campus. God has blessed us with wonderful facilities. How might we refresh them to better serve our needs in the future? We want to make a great first impression when people walk into our public areas, restrooms, classrooms, and sanctuary. As the general population ages, how can we make our buildings more accessible? At the same time, how can we be more “user friendly” for young families? There are also issues we would not have considered 30 years ago in shaping our facilities, like the impact of technology on future ministry directions.
Together we will refocus our communications. It’s not a secret that we can and must do a better job communicating with members, and with our community. How can we effectively use traditional means of communication, while thinking about future trends? What needs to happen with our website? What about social media? We are in a residential community with no natural traffic patterns. How can we tell our story in such a way that it motivates people to find us?
Together we will reconnect with our city. This is where we move from inside to outside and become vital to the life and hope of our city. What can we do to serve the needs of our neighborhood? How can we better make connections with people in our community? For example, the neighborhood garden last year was more than just a place to raise vegetables, though we did give more than 1,000 pounds to feed hungry people in our city. We also discovered it was a great way to meet neighbors and begin a conversation with them.