During September and most of October my sermons will be built around the Great Ends of the Church. This is a six point document that is part of the constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the USA. Here are the Great Ends in their entirety:
The proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind
The shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God
The maintenance of divine worship
The preservation of the truth
The promotion of social righteousness
The exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world
Please read this brief list carefully and think about how our churches are or are not pursuing these “Ends” or goals. As we go forward together, it is important to articulate a clear understanding of what we are called to do as the church of Jesus Christ here in this place and time. Given the great diversity of churches that people can choose from these days, we must ask ourselves what is special about our mission. We Presbyterians have a great heritage of theology, church organization and mission, and we need to become more aware of that history and be clearer in our own minds about what we are called by God to accomplish now and how we should go about the work of the Kingdom. Studying and discussing the Great Ends will give us a good start.
Beginning in October, I would like us to learn a “memory verse of the month.” This will be a Bible verse that carries an important message for all of us. It will be printed in the bulletin for three Sundays and we will recite it during the service. On the fourth Sunday, we will not print it, and we will recite it from memory! Please help me select the verses by giving me your favorite two or three verses.