Travis Avenue Baptist Church … Joining God in developing passionate followers of Jesus Christ
We envision a vibrant church composed of passionate followers of Jesus Christ who, having received the gift of eternal life and being transformed by the love of God, are empowered to live out the following:
Not long ago our church, following a careful study of the Scriptures, rewrote our guiding statements that hopefully shape everything we do as a church. Our mission is to “join God in developing passionate followers of Jesus Christ.” The two words “join God” are the most important words in the statement. They remind us that the whole process of saving and shaping souls starts with God. It was first God’s vision to call out “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (I Peter 2:9). Christ did not live and die and live again to produce church members; He did all of that to produce disciples.
So God’s vision becomes our mission. Jesus made it clear that we are to “Go and make disciples…” (Matt.28:19). Years ago Leroy Eims wrote a great little book on discipleship entitled “Disciples are Made, Not Born.” We are not to assume that a new believer is birthed and instantly begins to act as a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us that this happens as we baptize them and teach them to obey everything that He commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). Our life as a church should revolve around this grand purpose.
Our faith is expressed at the beginning of our second guiding statement: “We envision a vibrant church composed of passionate followers of Jesus Christ…” We are not there yet, but we envision a day when it will be more so than it is now … that every church member will be a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. We aren’t there, but we join God in the pursuit of that goal for every soul.
That statement continues with our understanding of the process of developing passionate followers of Jesus Christ:
- “Having received the gift of eternal life…” – Eternal life is a quantity of life. It lasts for eternity in the presence of God. But eternal life is also a quality of life. Jesus said as much: “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b). This life is neither earned nor deserved. By faith we receive it as a gift when we are saved.
- “Being transformed by the love of God…” – The change eternal life brings to our lives is wrought through the love of God expressed in Jesus Christ. Discipleship isn’t a cold regimen of religious exercises and morality, but a hot-hearted response to the great love God has shown us in Christ.
- “Are empowered to live out…” – So the gift of God’s life and love empowers us to live out the life of a passionate follower of Jesus Christ. The indwelling Spirit makes this life and love real in us. It is God who “works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil 2:13).
My heart beats just a little faster as I consider what God has called us to join Him in doing. I am caught up in God’s grand, eternal quest to “bring many sons to glory” (Heb.2:10).