In Pillar’s first year of existence, I was often asked about our purpose, mission and strategy. While I didn’t have a pat answer, my response was usually something similar to:
” We will focus on the soul (person) and the ways in which we are shaped so that we desire what Christ desires and long for His will in our life. Soulcraft is how I like to describe it. Our mission will revolve around building into those who love Christ. We will hope to provide ways for the thoughtful, perhaps discontent, believer to craft space in the hectic world of modern life. Space in which we might become more attentive to God, more aware of His presence and more responsive to His will.”
Invariably people would question the central mission, even critique it. They would ask questions such as, ‘What about evangelism, isn’t that important?‘ or, “What about reaching the lost, isn’t that why the church exists?”
To which I would say, “Yes, evangelism is important. It will not, however, become the target of our ministry. In fact, making it the target (and detaching it (evangelism) from its larger meaning) is an entirely modern phenomenon. All too often, such language cloaks own insecurities and incongruities as a people rather than the call of God. At Pillar, we are simply trying to say and practice the truth that has always been said and practiced. That is, when our soul is the target and shaping our soul toward Christ the goal, then the outcome will be a life lived for the sake of others. A life lived for the sake of others nearly always results in good and God-glorifying Kingdom-building efforts: from evangelism to justice.
It is our humble, yet firm, conviction that the Great Commission (Mt. 20:16 – 20) would be the outcome of life shaped by the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34 – 40). The fuel for both is the Cultural Mandate found in Genesis 1:26 – 31. Therefore our mission centers on shaping our desires to love God and others as we cultivate the day by day moments of this ordinary adventure we call life.
We are now four years into this effort of striving to be a Christ-centered community of soul shaping and spiritual formation. As we move into our fifth year, I have been reflecting reflect upon our previous four. Our church has reached into our community, in small but meaningful ways, week in and week out. We have witnessed men, women and children come to know and grow in a vital relationship with God. We have been fortunate enough to distribute tens of thousands of dollars to missionaries and relief agencies across our own back yard, as well as the globe. We have crafted a warm and inviting environment on Sunday morning; where people genuinely experience the welcome of the Lord and the presence of His Spirit. During these years, we have practiced a host of spiritual disciplines/rhythms designed to open us to the workings of the Lord within ourselves and throughout the community (see, https://disruptusrenovatus.wordpress.com/into-the-wood-spiritual-formation-for-the-sake-of-others/my-top-three-links-for-spiritual-formation-resources/).
All of this (and much more) has sprung from the fountains of spiritual formation. Fountains of refreshing waters that have freed us from a past of bondage, brokenness, and despair and have refreshed us to live a life for the sake of others. Such a mission leads us into the world where God is already present. As we go into this world, we practice the posture of dependence and surrender – learning to rely on Him and call out to him. This life with God life draws us back to formation and soul care so that we might discern the Lord, His ways and respond to His will in our life and all around.
As I describe Pillar to folks these days, my description is far simpler and delivered with far more grit. It sounds something like this,
“The story of Pillar Community Church best framed as a journey. A desire shaping journey of a community of people who care deeply about our formation because we know and have experienced the beauty of a soul shaped by Christ. We have found soul formation to be a pathway to cultivation – walking with God into the places of addiction, injustice and despair felt so keenly by others in their hearts, communities and abroad. These life giving rhythms of cultivation leave us ever hungry and always longing for formation. An ongoing, ever present, God with us journey into the world as His ambassadors, bringing His good for His glory.”
Disrupting to Renew