To borrow a famous line from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, we believe that man’s primary purpose (or chief end) is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. This purpose is transcendent, meaning it will never change with time. When we are a billion years into our stay in the new heavens and new earth, our purpose in life will still be to glorify God and enjoy him forever. How wonderful is that!
We believe Christ himself has clearly expressed the church’s mission in Scripture. Our mission is the mission that Christ gave to his church in Matt. 28:18-20, which is to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Unlike our purpose, which is transcendent, our mission is temporal. Our mission of making disciples will cease as soon as Jesus returns to consummate his Kingdom. In the meantime, we are to be singularly devoted to making committed disciples of Jesus Christ in all that we do.
We believe the mission of the church is clear and universal, but the making and growing of disciples in Huntsville may look slightly different from other parts of the world, given the unique circumstances in which God has placed us. It is important to emphasize that our gospel message will never change, nor will our reliance upon the ordinary means of grace for making disciples. Still, we believe that it is appropriate and helpful to have a clear vision of how to execute our God-given mission here in Huntsville, AL.
Our vision at Westminster is to gather and grow a worshiping community of disciples
who give of themselves and go into their world with the gospel of grace for the glory of God.
The four keywords in our vision statement are GATHER, GROW, GIVE, and GO (see Acts 2:42-47 for an expression of these in the early church).
- GATHER: This involves regularly coming together for corporate worship and making diligent use of the ordinary means of grace, namely the ministry of word, prayer, and sacraments. At Westminster, we accomplish this through Sunday morning and evening worship services and by promoting personal and family worship.
- GROW: This involves personal, family, and corporate growth through the diligent study of God’s Word and meaningful fellowship with one another. At Westminster, we accomplish this through corporate worship services, Sunday School, Bible studies, growth groups, fellowship meals, retreats, conferences, etc.
- GIVE: This involves sacrificing our time and resources for the good of the body of Christ and the expansion of Christ’s Kingdom upon the earth. At Westminster, we accomplish this through the giving of tithes and offerings, mercy ministries, hospitality, visitation, meal ministry, Deacons’ Benevolence, etc.
- GO: This involves reaching into the broader community by proclaiming the truth of the gospel to a lost and dying world. Additionally, we want to demonstrate the “touch” of the gospel by loving others and meeting their needs. At Westminster, we accomplish this through local, national, and world missions, personal evangelism, etc.
At the heart of our vision are the core values of Westminster Presbyterian Church. These values are worship, shepherding, discipleship, evangelism, fellowship, and mercy ministry. Our vision represents our values, and we believe our values are rooted in clear Scriptural mandates. These values have been a consistent part of Westminster’s long history, and we are enthusiastically committed to them.
To make disciples, one has to have practical tools for making disciples. We like to refer to these as “vehicles” for ministry. In terms of discipleship, this is where the rubber meets the road. We believe it is unwise to try and do too many things in the process of making disciples. Therefore, our session has intentionally chosen a select number of disciple-making vehicles. God directly commands the use of some vehicles, and they are therefore mandatory for the church, such as the ministry of the Word, prayer, and sacraments. Other disciple-making vehicles are helpful, but not mandatory, such as Sunday School, Bible Studies, Growth Groups, retreats, conferences, etc. While not as important as the ordinary means of grace employed in our corporate worship services, we believe that these additional vehicles are invaluably helpful for growth in Christ. We wholeheartedly encourage our people to participate in them as their time allows.