Vision: To Know Christ

The passion of my life has been to know Jesus Christ for myself. Ever since I invited Him into my life when I was 15 years old, I have sought to grow in knowing Him for fully and in greater reality. As 2022 begins, the passion is still alive. I want to know Christ. I want to know Him deeply, intimately and personally. I don't want to just know about Him, I want to know Him.

I think the Apostle Paul says it well:

What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11 NIV)

The Mission of Dayton UM Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

This Mission is the Mission of God to redeem the world. He has deployed His Church to make Disciples. Our reason for existence is to make Jesus known so others may know and follow Him as Savior and Lord.

Our Vision for achieving this Mission is to Know Christ, Grow Faith and Go Witness. It begins with knowing Christ.

We cannot make Him known whom we do not know for ourselves. Knowing Christ means paying attention to our relationship with Him. It means trusting Jesus and His sacrificial death on the Cross for the forgiveness of my sins and for eternal life. God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

God gave His Son, Jesus, to the world at a particular time and place in history. Jesus gave His life for the redemption of humanity when He died on the Cross as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. I gave my life to Jesus at 15 years old, and have been following Him as Savior and Lord ever since.

Sadly, we can settle for knowing about Christ. We can settle for religious activity. We can settle for mental assent to who Jesus is (the Son of God) and what He did (died on the Cross for the sins of the world), but not actually know Him. When that light bulb turns on in our hearts and we believe - we really trust Him - our lives are changed forever.

This vision that we Know Christ, however, is not just something we seek in order to receive forgiveness and eternal life from God. It is a calling to make Jesus known so others may Know Christ as well.

So our worship and our ministries are aimed at making Christ known so we may all know Him. Our individual lives of discipleship must include witnessing to others in order to make Him known (hence the third part of our Vision - to Go Witness). It is the reason we exist as a Church, and the calling of every follower of Jesus. To Know Christ for ourselves, and to make Him known so others may Know Christ for themselves. This drives our evangelism. It directs our prayer life. It infuses life into our worship. It is who we are and what we do.

Today at Dayton UM Church, we begin a three-week worship series on our Mission and Vision to lift it up again and remind us all how important it is to Know Christ, Grow Faith and Go Witness. I need the annual reminder of who we are and why we exist. And I lift it up to you who are part of the Body of Christ at Dayton UMC.

Have a blessed New Year. And please make it your priority in 2022 to Know Christ more deeply, more intimately and more personally.

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