Oak Forest United Methodist Church
Friday, February 22, 2019
To Know Christ, To Grow in Christ, To Share Christ

Pastor's Message

February 2019
“Where there is no vision, the people will perish”- Proverbs 29:13
Within my first week of arriving at Oak Forest in July of 2018, I was asked, “What is your vision for the church?” It’s a really important question. But after one week, I would have been foolish to rush to answer that question so quickly. Visioning takes time both chronos (linear time) and in kairos (God’s time) and is carefully entered into with a lot of prayer, great care, and by listening to God. Vision is essential to the health and future of the church and I believe that God has prepared us for this time of visioning at Oak Forest.
People throw around the words mission and vision quite a bit and it can be somewhat confusing as to what each of those important words mean. Mission is the reason we exist as a church and rarely changes. Several years ago, Oak Forest defined its mission as “to know Christ, to grow in Christ, and to share Christ.” The mission of the United Methodist Church is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” These are wonderful mission statements and they will keep us centered as we move into the future because they do not change. But Vision does change over time because the world in which we live changes, it seems more rapidly now more than ever. Our Vision guides us into the immediate future, as we seek God’s guidance and direction for church looking one to three years into the future. For example, our purpose for being a church is to know Christ, to grow in Christ and to share Christ and the way we are going to do that (Vision) may be through the nurture and care of the children in our community. Another example would be that we are going to share Christ by being a place of welcome and hospitality for anyone we serve in our community and for anyone who walks through our doors. Oftentimes, people confuse goal setting with visioning. Visioning is not about setting goals but getting to the heart of why we want to know, grow, and share Christ. Once we spend time developing the why of our mission statement, we will work together to develop strategies (goals) so our vision can become a reality.
Over the next several weeks, we are going to enter into a time of visioning as a church. And everyone is invited to be a part of this exciting time.
Here’s what I am asking:
1. Pray for God to speak and show you what God wants for Oak Forest for the next few years.
2. Come to church in February! Especially February 10th, when we will have a special worship service around visioning. We need everyone to be a part of the process.
3. Don’t think about roadblocks or hindrances to your dreams for the church, but imagine God taking all those away so we can see what is possible. God has already done great things with Oak Forest over the last 50 years. God has incredible things planned for Oak Forest.
“Let us sanctify ourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you” (Joshua 3:5).
Peace of Christ,
Pastor Julie Wilburn Peeler