Mission. It’s a word laden with purpose and momentum. It’s a powerful word, really.
It evokes Hollywood and adventure, conquest and intrigue. Man on a mission. Mission to Mars. Mission impossible.
Can you feel it? The excitement, the drive of mission?
At a deep level, human beings seem to need some sort of mission to feel fulfilled. If we lack mission, some sort of purpose, life seems boring, or worse: pointless.
It seems we need a mission to really feel worthwhile.
At Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, we want to think carefully about mission. What drives us? What are we about? How do we accomplish that in a way that is careful and intentional? We care about giving The Good News locally and globally, but what does that look like?
Our church’s mission is this: “Working together to present everyone mature in Christ.”
There’s actually quite a bit to unpack in that sentence, and if you’re not familiar with the Bible, it might not make sense right away.
To put it another way, we simply want to grow to be more like Jesus Christ (that’s what “mature in Christ” means).
So, what does it look like to be more like Jesus? There are many ways our church seeks to do that, but I want to highlight one that is especially fresh.
We recently sent two different teams from Chapel Hill to travel across the world to Thailand and Cambodia. We have long-standing relationships with ministries in both of those places, and they’re doing some amazing things.
But because of our mission, we don’t want to simply support financially, we want to put our hands and feet to what we believe Jesus is doing all around the world.
One of the unique things about Christianity in contrast to other world religions is that we believe that God entered our world as a man and walked among the grit and grime of our experience, ministering to us.
In that way, the teams in Thailand and Cambodia sought to be like Jesus. In Thailand, team members trekked into the jungles and provided much-needed dental care. Others on the team listened to the stories of refugee children (driven from nearby Burma) at a school, many of whom had not seen their parents in months.
In Cambodia, our team provided training and resources to our ministry partner, Cambodian Hope Organization.
Years ago, Cambodia was ravaged by genocide and war. Now CHO seeks to help rebuild the country in the name of Christ. Chapel Hill’s partnership with them allows CHO to use the education of architects, engineers, managers and many others in our congregation. With that training, CHO can sustainably and independently do their work in Cambodia.
Our partners from Thailand and Cambodia come to visit us here in Gig Harbor as well.
Last fall, we held a conference for CHO staff, and every year we host the Run for Burma 5-kilometer run/walk fundraiser for refugees in Thailand and Burma.
That’s part of what we hope for from our vision of “working together.” It’s not a one-sided partnership where we offer everything.
As they come here and we go there, we learn from our Cambodian and Thai brothers’ and sisters’ compassion, courage and a faith in Jesus that at once encourages and convicts our own faith.
Together, we hope to be more like Christ with them, ministering and serving in a broken world.On Faith columnist Larry Hackman is an associate pastor at Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church in Gig Harbor.