Calvary Monterey's vision is Jesus Famous. Our mission is to Honor God, Nurture Believers, and Proclaim to the World. This post deals with the "Honor God" portion of our mission.
The church exists for [insert your most passionate cause here].
This is often the way we think of the church. “It is for disciple making,” someone says. “It is for evangelism,” proclaims another. Whether it be for loving community, church planting, meeting community needs, education, Bible learning, missions, or missional living, the opinions are endless.
Individual and localized churches will have various points of emphasis and effectiveness. But the universal church exists for the glory of God. So, some churches do some things better than some, but the worldwide church is on earth to bring glory to God.
To put it one more way, the lower case “c” church will have different shapes. But the capital “C” Church exists for God’s honor, fame, glory, and reputation.
So our vision is Jesus Famous, in large part because He is the foundation of the church (Matthew 16:18). He purchased us with His own blood (Acts 20:28). He is our head (Ephesians 5:23, Colossians 1:18).
In reaction to this we long to bring Him glory. We want God to be held in the highest esteem. We have been remade as a people for His pleasure, and our earnest desire is to honor Him as His new community. We long to “together…with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:6). We believe we exist for the “praise of His glorious grace” (Ephesians 1:6), “to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:12, 14), so that “to Him (would) be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations” (Ephesians 3:21). We want God glorified in everything (1 Peter 4:11), especially within our church community.
Wonderful life blooms from a community whose highest ambition is to honor God. Worship, prayer, and personal devotion spring up from us. This is why "Honor God" is the first pillar of Calvary Monterey’s mission statement. From there, everything else flows. Corporate worship becomes strong. Private devotion becomes real. Everything must flow from a desire for God's glory.
For instance, the desire to “nurture believers” best stems from passion for God’s glory. Without this element disciple making might become mechanical. We might teach classes and disseminate information, but without a higher motivation. To long for God’s glory makes us prioritize the nurture of believers, community, training, proclamation to the world, acts of mercy, and the planting of churches. To honor Him is our purest motivation.
You can plant churches for personal glory. You can do acts of mercy to receive the praise of man. You can get into a Life Group only for personal friendships. You can receive helpful training to self improve. Some of these motivations are benign. Others are cancerous. All of them are best replaced with a desire for God’s glory.
I should want to be with my Life Group because I believe we can do and say things there that would honor God. That is a higher motivation.
I should want to attend a service on Sunday in order to release God's praise from my lips, or to come under His word for my life, or to serve Him. These are high motivations.
When I want to care for a foster child because I believe God has asked me to and I want others to know His love, I am living out a wonderful longing.
When I pray for Refuge Salinas, or future church plants from Calvary Monterey, because I long for that community to love the wonderful God who has loved me so wonderfully, I am truly praying as Jesus taught us, for the hallowing of God’s name (Matthew 6:9).
This is first because it is first. It is primary. It is necessary. Without this element I quit. Often overlooked and taken for granted, the glory of God is the church’s chief purpose. All else flows from this.
Make no mistake, we will be tempted to belittle this part of our mission. We will be tempted to disregard it in favor of the more practical and tangible. We'll want to focus on human need above divine honor. Remember, though, a local church that loves God's honor has that “it” so many people are longing for. The presence of God, the passion, the higher purpose to life, the love; it all flows from a desire to honor God. It is so often the element that makes the bystander say, “Whoa, something is happening here.” They are feeling a group of people who have longed for something bigger than themselves.
Let us fight for this in our hearts. Much of church work is just that, work. It does not always feel holy or divine or ethereal. The task at hand can easily dominate our hearts. The calendar, the meetings, the planning, the brokenness — life — much of it fogs the beauty of God in our mind's eye. But there is something higher that helps us in and through all the necessary callings of life. We must join David and fight for God to lead us to the rock that is higher than us (Psalm 61:1-2).
“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” (Psalm 115:1).