By Brandon Lemons
The start of a new year provides a great reminder to re-focus on things that really matter. This is why people make New Year’s resolutions. This is why the New Year generates lots of reflection and goal-setting. Turning the calendar to January is an annual reminder to prioritize what really matters.
With these New Year dynamics in mind, we are starting a sermon series on Sunday that is designed to re-focus us, as a church family, on why we do what we do. What is our mission? What are the goals and values that inspire, unify, and guide us? This new series is called “Church on Mission.”
Friedens’ mission statement is: “Making disciples of Jesus through UP-IN-OUT relationships.” “Church on Mission” will focus on the latter phrase in this statement.
For over a decade, Friedens has used a diagram called the “UP-IN-OUT Triangle” to illustrate what it means to be a growing follower of Jesus.
The points of the triangle represent three key relationships of Christ-followers: our UP relationship with God, our IN relationship with other Christians, and our OUT relationship with the surrounding world. The Gospel is in the center of the triangle, showing that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection ought to shape and empower each of these relationships. There is another part of the diagram that is used less frequently but is still important. It indicates that when a person has healthy, Christ-centered UP, IN, and OUT relationships, and the person is connected to Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, the natural outcome is that they will bear the fruit of Christ-like character and making more disciples of Jesus. This diagram was developed after intensive biblical study to answer the question: “What are the characteristics of a growing follower of Christ?” A wonderful aspect of this diagram is that it applies equally well to individuals and churches.
It is valuable to take intentional time to focus on what is truly important, and to adjust our lives (and our church) to live out those priorities. Please pray for me as I develop and communicate this sermon series, and pray that God will work through it to help all of us – individually and as a church family – to grow in following Jesus and making more disciples of Jesus in 2024.