The Mission Statement of Crossroads Church is shown below.  The reflections that follow were written by three members of Crossroads who helped develop our statement.

 

The mission of Crossroads Church is to create sanctuary for one another, to seek renewal of mind, body, and spirit, and to practice the liberating work of Jesus.

 

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Not knowing the difference between a mission statement and several other useful yet different types of statements, my first attempt at a mission statement for Crossroads was quite detailed and lengthy. I wanted to encapsulate all the various qualities of our church that (outside of my social contacts) keep me coming back. So I referenced being an open and welcoming alternative for those who previously had somehow been harmed by mainstream churches due to various biases. Self-discovery and spiritual growth within a safe environment influenced by the teachings of Jesus was also noted. Then, I even went on to offer a framework for how all this was to be achieved. All worthy thoughts, concepts, and aspirations, but I was to learn that it was not a Mission Statement.

When I realized that a Mission Statement is a condensed and inspiring umbrella statement that would guide all current and future church activities, goals, and theological stances, it became clear that something altogether different was needed. And to that point, in my opinion, the statement being presented to the congregation for approval meets all of my prior thoughts and concerns but in a both/and (concise yet encompassing) way.

Specifically, to “create sanctuary” alludes to our God-given ability to call into being a spiritual safe haven for ourselves, as well as, any who might want to blend their journey with ours and offer us the same in return. To “seek renewal of m/b/s” not only references a process of healing in multiple dimensions but also of taking personal responsibility for growing into ourselves, and our connections to community and God as our understandings of them emerge. Finally, to “practice the liberating works of Jesus” not only includes everything above but also makes a not so subtle reference to liberation theology and the “radical” teachings and behaviors of Jesus that we, by our Mission Statement, are pledging to follow and breathe into new life.

As I referenced above, I believe that the proposed Mission Statement addresses the various attributes, beliefs and aspirations of our church, but more importantly for me, it is a statement that even if I had no established social connections at Crossroads, I would want to check out and see if this congregation “walks its talk.”

 

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Practice the liberating work of Jesus.

I like that.

It says to me that we speak truth to power. We stand with the oppressed. We tell seekers that we are welcoming and affirming right alongside our name in our identity statement. When you see that phrase written out, you know where we stand, and you know if you can find solace here. You know if you can be who you truly are while you sojourn with us. But our word to those who do choose to journey together with us? It is this: reconciliation and redemption are reached through the examined life. Not every part of your liberation comes from telling someone off. We call you to ‘fess up and grow up into discipleship. With your liberation come new episodes, not reruns.

I know I cannot offer mercy to strangers until I first invite those nearby – those whose irritating foibles I know only too well – to join me in building God’s sanctuary. There is a necessary order in the kingdom of God which Jesus preached.

If I start at any point in our mission statement, I find myself discovering all the other phrases. The simple truth is that all the elements of our mission statement interlock with each other because they grow out of our strong and well-integrated identity. And so I have confidence that the Holy Spirit will lead us over the next months to a clear vision of how we’ll operate far into the future.

 

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I have worked with boards of directors over the years as they developed mission statements. I am well aware of two common guidelines: short enough for an elevator ride, make the stranger want to know more. When we wrestle with this at Crossroads, there are often comments that are focused on the response of people who are meeting this institution for the first time. As the ad hoc team worked, it became clear for me that I was more interested in stating what we who choose to be part of Crossroads can agree to. The mission statement (saying why we are here and what we mean to accomplish) is much more like wedding vows than advertising. If we make a true bond between ourselves as individuals, between our collective body and our God, we have a thing of substance to lean on and to guide us. I want us to say what is most true most clearly.

“Create sanctuary for one another” reminds me that not only must my needs be met, but I must help others have their needs met. We mutually offer safety and a place to thrive. Jesus said we should love one another as he has loved us. Sanctuary may be sought from dysfunctional families, prejudicial society, the stresses of hard times, heartbreaks, or simple loneliness. We open our door to those who desire sanctuary.

“Seek renewal of mind, body, and spirit” helps me remember that the growth process is never complete – and Jesus encouraged us to knock, seek, and ask. My own journey has been blessed by this community when I needed lots of healing in how I thought and how I accepted my physical life as well as how I needed to grow spiritually. The seeking includes study in psychology and religious thought, sharing perspectives with others, and improving our understanding of ourselves. We encourage growth!

“Practice the liberating work of Jesus” covers, for me, the long stretch of gospel from the Good Samaritan to the Liberation Theology martyrs of recent years to Jim Wallis to opportunities for positive change in Kansas City. We are called to help peel away oppression whenever we become aware of it. It can become a daily practice like a spiritual discipline, or it can become our “profession” like the practice of medicine – like working with the Great Physician.

 

 

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Crossroads Church - 7917 Main Street - Kansas City, Missouri 64114

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