Choosing a mission is not necessarily easy work. But, it's not the hardest work either.
As I've worked with congregations for nearly 20 years, I've found that the biggest obstacle to choosing a mission is saying "no" to the many other choices which captivate and charm our senses. Too often, we feel like we haven't chosen something big enough or wide enough if we only choose one mission, one area, on which to focus. Of course, this is not true. God blesses the big and small things. God has never asked the church to do everything, but God has asked the church to be faithful in one thing. That one thing is our mission.
We know that we are part of a larger body. We know that we don't have to do it all. We know that with God as our help we cannot fail. And, we know that God is with us. So, choosing our mission is not something to fear as if we might get it wrong, but choosing our mission is something to lean into knowing that God will bless us, simply because God is for us.
Some people will challenge my words here and say, "But, churches can choose the wrong mission." And, to be honest, this does happen sometimes. But, it is not the norm and it does not happen as often as we think. Most churches are living the right mission for them, right now. Those that are not are the ones we read about, the ones we drive by and wonder "what happened to them," the ones who seem caught in an ugly cycle of decay and despair.
Milner is not that congregation! We can and will see our mission. This week we will start with the first congregational gathering to get a perspective on our history. Then next month we will add some data to our process from finance and community demographics. By July, we should have enough information to begin praying about and looking into different mission directions for the future of Milner. We can talk about them, try them on, and dream a little. I know God will bless what we choose because God is leading us toward them as we speak.
Milner, you are beloved by God and needed by the world. Let us give thanks to this mighty God whom we serve who loves and searches for the one lost sheep among the ninety-nine others. God delights in the small and big things, and just like Milner, God loves to welcome all God's children home.