At Asbury, Our Mission is Helping Others Follow Jesus.
Let's begin with the “Why?” Why should anyone follow Jesus? Each word is how we interpret our mission statement.
When Jesus invited Peter, James, and John to get out of their boat to be His disciples, He promised they would find new meaning and significance in life. However, Jesus had a bigger goal in mind than personal fulfillment: “…And I will make you fishers of men.” Followers of Jesus are called to a greater purpose.
The Helper, the Holy Spirit, teaches and empowers us for witness (outreach). The Helper creates and shapes community (the church), not isolation. He desires ALL to follow Jesus as disciples (with depth and perseverance). This means an ongoing learning and growing process. To receive help requires humility. Indifference, pride and apathy prevent us from helping. On the other side, taking on too much responsibility (enabling, over-functioning) can hinder or harm. “Helping” must have boundaries.
One result of sin entering the world is self-absorption. Followers of Jesus live with the never-ending battle of two kingdoms operating simultaneously within us. The New Testament refers to the kingdom of self in terms of “the world” and our “flesh.” It vigorously opposes Jesus’ favorite topic, the Kingdom of God. Our sinful nature consists of both outward actions (Romans 1) and judgmental attitudes (Romans 2). The conclusion: We are all guilty of sin. The church is repeatedly stuck in this “What’s in it for me?” paradigm. The flesh focuses upon scarcity (grabbing and consuming), whereas the Spirit focuses on abundance (giving and sharing).
Asbury is a congregation that is committed to the spiritual development of all generations. We develop followers of Jesus who have a positive influence in the places we live, work, worship, study and play so others can be transformed by the most unique person in the history of our world.
In Scripture, we see Jesus gave His disciples “The Great Commission.” He said, all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. -Matthew 28:18-20
Worship and making disciples are the two traditions at the very heart of the early Church. A follower of Jesus is committed not only to being a follower, but to helping others follow too. It precludes a personal relationship with Jesus, one in which the individual is “working out” his or her salvation over a lifetime (Philippians 2:12-13). This is not a one-time decision but an ongoing, dynamic and active relationship. Yet, it does not end with us. Jesus commissioned His disciples at His ascension to “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Jesus always focused on mission. While there are personal benefits from following Him, it does not make discipleship merely a personal fulfillment adventure. Thus, our mission statement does not contain the words, “I, me, mine” or “myself.” It has individual implications, but is rooted in community. Personal experience is critical in discipleship, but it does not come at the expense of others. This implies an individual has already been helped (i.e. is already a follower of Jesus). The mission thrusts us beyond ourselves into active outreach.
A Practical Application
The Lord has endowed Asbury with a wonderful history as seen in our timeline. The foundation of our church is rooted in Scripture and tradition. The Bible teaches us to use His gifts to love God and to love our neighbors. We are on mission in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the United States and all over the world. We know following Jesus is the key to LIFE – a life of healing, wholeness, forgiveness and the promise of eternal life in God’s loving presence. We possess this knowledge, but often stop short of unleashing its transforming power on others. It is unkind to know the truth and not share it. It is an abuse of God-given potential to have influence but not use it in ways that glorify the Lord. God calls us to use what He has generously provided to Help Others Follow Jesus.
We are all gifted in certain areas for the purpose of building up the church. Ephesians 4:11-13 says: It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. We see both components: spiritual maturity combined with works of service.