RE:FOCUS Vision Update
Last February the elders initiated a process seeking to refocus our vision as a church. As you know, our goal was not to leave behind our 2011 vision statement or the careful process that went into forming and adopting it. Rather, we want to build on it by asking God to show us a more focused and specific picture of the work he has called us to in the months and years ahead.
After several months of seeking the Lord, both as an elder board and together with the congregation and broader leadership community, we’re excited to share a significantly revised draft of our updated vision, along with the mission that drives it, the core values that guide it, and the core commitments through which we will seek to advance it.
OUR VISION: Christ treasured above all things throughout Metrowest Boston and in every corner of the earth.
OUR MISSION: To glorify God as a family of believers who make disciples for Christ.
- Submission to Scripture
- Dependence upon God
- Maturity in Christ
- Grace-Driven Relationships
- People over Programs
- Every Member on Mission
- Gospel Partnerships beyond Westgate
OUR CORE COMMITMENTS:
- God-Centered Worship
- Biblical Exposition
- Life-on-Life Discipleship
- Christ-Centered Community
- Local Outreach
- Church Planting
- Global Missions
On September 17 we will hold a special Vision Sunday when Pastor Brandon will share about our new vision from the pulpit, followed by an opportunity to explore the details together during a meal and congregational meeting after the service. From there, we’ll spend our fall sermon series highlighting our eight core commitments as a church as we begin to put our vision and commitments into practice.
But because we’re really excited about what God has shown us, and also eager to hear your feedback and questions, we want to give you a snapshot of what these new statements mean and where the come from, especially our new vision statement.
Mission is why we exist. It’s what God sends his church into the world to do. Our new mission statement, To glorify God as a family of believers who make disciples for Christ, is a simplified version of the purpose statement recorded in our Bylaws: “to glorify God through: worship, evangelizing our community and world, and making faithful disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Because mission grounds vision, we wanted to be able to articulate our mission in a more concise manner that parallels the conciseness of our new vision statement.
Core values provide the boundaries within which we make our decisions as a church. They are the principles, convictions, and philosophies that both support the vision and shape the culture of a church. They guide how we relate to each other, how we plan for ministry, and how we carry it out.
The heritage of our 2011 vision statement is captured predominately in our core values. So much of what we expressed in that statement was about the kind of church we want to be—the principles, convictions, and philosophies that shape the culture of our church and how we go about our mission. We want those core values to continue to shape us moving forward, and have summarized them as follows: gospel-centrality, submission to Scripture, dependence upon God, maturity in Christ, grace-driven relationships, people over programs, every member on mission, gospel partnerships beyond Westgate.
To learn more about each core value, see “Introducing our Core Values.”
How are we planning to move from mission to vision? The answer is our core commitments. These eight commitments supply the strategy for how we hope to see Christ treasured above all things in Metrowest Boston and in every corner of the world. As such, they provide an overarching framework for each of our specific ministries, bringing clarity and focus, and keeping those ministries aligned with our mission and vision. Our eight core commitments include: God-centered worship, biblical exposition, prayer, life-on-life discipleship, Christ-centered community, local outreach, church planting, global missions.
To learn more about each core commitment, see “Introducing our Core Commitments.”
Vision is what we hope to accomplish. It’s a picture of where we are going and the impact we hope to make by God’s grace. Our prayer is that our new vision statement, Christ treasured above all things throughout Metrowest Boston and in every corner of the earth, will supply us with a gospel-driven, inspiring, and focused guide for our life and ministry in the months and years ahead. It is both local and global in scope, recognizing our regional footprint as a congregation, which is our primary mission field (“throughout Metrowest Boston”), and also the global nature of the church’s mission (“in every corner of the earth”). But most exciting is the central imagery of “Christ treasured above all things.”
Why the language of “Christ treasured above all things”?
The picture of “Christ treasured above all things” summarizes the kind of impact we want to have as a church. It’s more specific than seeing lives transformed by the gospel (a common thread in early drafts of the statement). It paints a God-centered picture of what that transformation looks like, emphasizing the incomparable value of Christ, the passionate desire of his people, and the unparalleled satisfaction he alone can offer in this broken and unsettled world.
The Scriptures often use the imagery of a treasure to communicate God’s infinite value and the desire and satisfaction of his people. For instance, Jesus describes God’s kingdom “like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matt. 13:44), or like “a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matt. 13:45-46). In other words, Christ and his kingdom are so incomparably valuable that when someone sees them for what they truly are, they will joyfully pay any price to have them, even if it means losing everything else. Incomparable value, passionate desire, unparalleled satisfaction.
Therefore, a vision to see Christ treasured above all things focuses first on God and his worthiness—his incomparable value. There is nothing in heaven or on earth that deserves such glory, such allegiance, such passion, love, devotion, and faith. The reality is that everyone worships something. We all treat something as ultimate, worthy of our highest honor and praise. But as heaven testifies, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev. 5:12). We want to see Christ treasured above all things because he alone is worthy.
Treasuring Christ also expresses the passionate desire for him that ought to fill our hearts. “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. . . .” (Ps. 42:1-2). People are passionate about whatever they worship, and those passions shape our lives. As Jesus says in Luke 6:45, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” We want to see Christ treasured above all things because passion for Christ changes lives and shapes the way we live.
Finally, the language of treasuring Christ speaks not only to God’s worthiness and our desire, but also to the unparalleled satisfaction that Christ alone can give. There is nothing better for us, for Metrowest, or for the world than knowing Jesus. The apostle Paul expresses this idea in Philippians 3: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. . . .” (Phil. 3:7-8). Simply put: Jesus is better than anything this world can offer, and so satisfying that he’s worth losing everything in the world for.
This is a vision for something that truly has the power to change us. When Christ is treasured above all things in our hearts, he is glorified and we are satisfied. We find our value and identity in him. We find meaning, purpose, and significance in him. We enjoy love and intimacy with him. We find meaningful community in him. We are secure and stable, free to love others and lay down our lives to serve others whatever the cost.
But this is also a vision for something that has the power to bring change throughout the Metrowest and in every corner of the earth. Imagine families, neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces treasuring Christ above all things. Imagine how that might redirect the desires and stories that prevail over our culture, or how it might address the variety of problems and challenges so many people face: the rootlessness of so many young people, the false gods people look to for life and happiness, the busyness and consumerism that cloud life and relationships, the crises that mark society today. What happens to these when CHRIST is treasured above ALL things? When people recognize his incomparable value? When he becomes the center of their passionate desire? When they find in him an unparalleled satisfaction? When they realize that the gospel of Jesus tells a better story than all the other stories that surround and shape us?
Dreaming about the answers to those questions is what excites us about this more specific vision. It’s what motivates us to give ourselves to our eight core commitments, through which we long to see this vision realized—to God-centered worship, biblical exposition, prayer, life-on-life discipleship, Christ-centered community, local outreach, church planting, and global missions. We want to see Christ treasured above all things throughout Metrowest Boston and in every corner of the earth.
Please join us in praying to this end. And please share with the elders your feedback and questions as we prepare for Vision Sunday on September 17. We look forward to exploring more fully as a church family, as well as discussing specific next steps and implementation.
Your Servants in Christ,
The Westgate Elder Board:
Doran Abel, Adam Anderson, Mark Bauer, Dave Brown, John Cuozzo, Bruce Daggett, Steve Hope, Brandon Levering