Apr19ThuApril 19, 2018
Like most parents, I have a few goals for our children – targeted skills that I’d like for them to master before they live on their own. These targets include doing their own laundry, balancing a budget, changing a tire, and being able to cook at least three meals. Although there are still many years before our oldest son graduates from high school, we’ve already taken some steps towards helping Titus become proficient in some of these important skills – mainly cooking and laundry. We've also involved the rest of our children in other tasks - although it can be messy and slow.
Part of this is driven by witnessing so many young adults who remain in a state of irresponsible and unhealthy living – unable to live as a self-sustaining, maturing adult. Since these are some of our goals, it is not uncommon for us to slow down a household process and involve our children in them to help them slowly grow in maturity.
I mention this because setting goals is important for growing in maturity. Without intentionality, it would be very easy for any of our children to graduate from school without being taught any of these ‘life’ skills. In a similar way, it can be very easy for Christians to settle into comfortable living and stop growing into Jesus-like maturity. The problem is that we are either being transformed into the image of Christ, or conforming to the pattern of this world (according to Romans 12:2). Being complacent only leads toward perpetuating an immature and worldly life.
Therefore, I was so excited when the Nurture Commission began asking a wonderful question at the beginning of 2017 (yes, a year ago). They asked, “What does a fully formed disciple of Jesus from First Mennonite Church look like?” Now, I want a Yoder child to know how to cook a meal. But what does a maturing FMC-er look like? What are the priorities of such a person? But not just that. What have been the priorities of Christians who have grown in our church and influenced others? What legacy of maturity is woven into the DNA of First Mennonite?
After many meetings, the commission, then led by Ben Smidt, came up with five goals. A maturing Christian from FMC:
1) Follows Jesus
2) Delights in His Word
3) Is growing in prayer
4) Is making disciples
5) and is serving in mission.
Since then, you have likely heard these in commission minutes or on the walls of the Sunday School classrooms.
Throughout the next few weeks, our Sunday sermon series is highlighting these goals in order to emphasize and support the vision of the Nurture Commission. But it should also cause us to evaluate how you and I are growing in Christian maturity.
How are you delighting in His Word? How are you making disciples? How are you serving in mission?
The wonderful gift of these goals is that they are applicable to every age group and faith journey. But they are also joyfully messy and complex! Just as there are many ways to do laundry or cook chicken, each of us have unique ways of drawing near to Jesus.
Therefore, as we evaluate our own journeys, we can also share the joy of learning from the habits of one another. I would love to hear new conversations erupt as brothers in sisters in Christ begin to share how they are growing to love, learn and live in Jesus Christ. My prayer is that this seasons causes all of us to refine our understanding of life together with FMC but also draws us closer to being the people which Jesus longs for us to be. Let’s keep maturing together! And if you want to learn how to cook, perhaps Titus can teach you!