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 and the ways in which our soul is shaped so that we desire what Christ desires. Soulcraft is how I like to describe it. We hope to assist those who join us in their efforts to craft space in the hectic world of modern life. Space where they – no matter who they are, where they are, or what they do – 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 our 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 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 being 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 upon the previous four. As I reflected on our past, I was moved to celebrate our present and hope for our future.
Here is a small sampling of the moments I am celebrating from Pillar’s past four years:
- Pillar has consistently reached into our community and given aid, offered support, provided comfort, and extended grace in small but meaningful ways.
- Pillar has witnessed and celebrated as women, men and children have come to know and grow in a vital relationship with God.
- Pillar has been fortunate enough to distribute tens of thousands of dollars to missionaries and relief agencies in our backyard and across the globe.
- Pillar has crafted a warm and inviting environment on Sunday morning. An environment where people genuinely experience the welcome of the Lord and the presence of His Spirit.
- Pillar has practiced a host of spiritual disciplines/rhythms designed to heighten our attentiveness to the workings of the Lord within ourselves our 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. This mission leads us into the world where God is already present. As we go into the world, we practice a posture of dependence and surrender – learning to rely on Him and call out to him. This life with God life draws us back to Him and the care He gives our soul. As He cares for us, we discern more of Him, His ways and respond to His will in our life and all around.
As I describe Pillar to folks these days, I hear my voice say,
“The story of Pillar Community Church is 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 experienced soulcraft as a pathway to cultivation – walking with God into the places of addiction, injustice, and despair painfully experienced in our hearts, homes, congregation, and community. Life giving rhythms of cultivation leave us ever hungry and always longing for more of God. Longing for and living in an ongoing, ever-present, God with us journey into the world; bringing His good for His glory.”
Disrupting to Renew