One of the things I pray for each of my children is Colossians 1:9-10. I pray that “you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” I’m convinced that understanding your purpose in life and where you fit into God’s plan changes how you live on a daily basis.
Last night, Carol & I were part of our monthly elders & wives Bible study. We’re working our way through a series on the church put out by the Centers of Church-Based Training. Last night’s study was on the purpose of the church.
As I told the group, I saw the unit as a funnel or triangle. The question of purpose is asked at several points in the funnel. I think there are three primary levels—What is God’s overall purpose in history? What is God’s purpose for the church? What is God’s purpose for me? The answer to one helps shape our answer to the next as none of them exists in isolation.
As far as God’s purpose in history, my personal conviction is that God’s overall purpose is to bring glory to himself (Psalm 19:1; 86:12; Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).
I see God’s purpose for the church summed up in Acts 2:42-47; Ephesians 4:11-16; and Acts 13-14. I used those passages to craft First Central’s purpose statement which describes the type of church we want to become. “At First Central Baptist Church, we are Building a Community to Change the World. We seek to Glorify God by Connecting people to Christ, the church, and one another; so that we can Grow in our faith, character, and skills; in order to Serve the cause of Christ with our time, talents, and treasures; and to Share the message of the gospel where we live, work, and go to school; both locally, and as far around the world as we can reach.”
The last issue is, “What is God’s purpose for me? Where do I fit into God’s plan in history and his plan for the church?” Once I answer that question, I need to ask, “Where do I need to make changes in my life to accomplish what God wants to do in and through me?” It requires us to do some thinking and reflection about our spiritual gifts, passion, temperament, skills, abilities, etc.
Over the years, I’ve used several different resources to help me think through those issues and answer the questions personally. As part of the process, I wrote my own personal mission statement several years back which I now include in my resume.
My mission is to serve the purpose of God in my generation, thus bringing glory to His name. My life vision is to train and equip others through preaching, teaching, writing, and leadership development.
I believe that the goal of ministry is to produce fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ who are grounded in their faith and established in sound doctrine (Colossians 1:28; 2:7). My passion is to preach and teach the whole counsel of God, and to equip people to walk with God and serve Him (Ephesians 4:11-16). I want to bring all to maturity and many into leadership.
From personal experience, I can attest that it takes time and effort to work through these questions and come to solid conclusions and personal convictions. However, the benefit of having an answer about purpose—overall, church, and personal—helps us know what to say, “Yes,” to and what to say, “No,” to. It gives a greater sense of direction, purpose, and meaning.