On Sept. 3, 2017, Senior Pastor Drew Williams introduced Trinity's new mission statement:
Our passion is to see the love of Jesus
at the center of each life,
at the heart of every community
and as the source of all our actions.
The following Q&A with Drew, first published in the Fall 2017 issue of Trinity Life magazine, unpacks the mission statement and the collaborative process behind crafting it.
What is a mission statement? Why a renewed mission statement for Trinity this year?
A mission statement is really a means by which we can all unite and be inspired by our shared purpose under God — the Kingdom cause that we are all joined in. Simon Sinek wrote, “Very few people or [organizations] can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY, I mean your purpose, cause, or belief. WHY does your [church] exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care?” He also said, “All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear…”
In every sense, Jesus has helpfully already mapped out our mission when He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and 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. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20). But I still believe that within this over-arching mandate of the Great Commission it is incumbent upon us to clearly understand our distinctive part in making disciples.
There was a desire on my part, strongly supported by the Council and staff team, that we needed to pause, give thanks to God for just how far we have come as a family (and how faithful God has been to us), and to come before God and ask Him anew, “Why have you established a community of faith called Trinity?”.
As we take on new Sunday space at Greenwich High School, launch the new service in Darien, and soon enjoy our brand-new ministry center at 5 River Road, there was a prayerful consensus that at this juncture in Trinity’s story in God, the Holy Spirit was inviting us to enter a process of discernment.
What did this process of discernment look like?
Well, it was an appropriately lengthy and deeply prayerful one! It involved the staff as a whole, the team of ministry heads, and the Trinity Council over many months — including retreat times and extended times of prayer. We started with a blank sheet of paper and spent a long time praying over and discussing aspects of Trinity’s particular “why.” Once the concepts were in place, the wordsmithing began in earnest. It was a real joy to see the unity that existed between everyone involved, the level of faith and passion, and the extraordinary way that “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17).
I would add that as we have been slowly watching the Lord reveal this renewed mission statement, I was struck by how we sometimes respond when new songs of worship are introduced. Some worship songs immediately resonate with us and quickly become our favorites! I find that as much as I enjoy this season, some songs with an immediate attraction can lose their freshness and appeal. It is often the songs that intrigue us or make us think that become life-long favorites and enjoy a spiritual longevity. I believe a successful mission statement is often in the second category. If you don’t immediately warm to this one, do pray on it and give it an opportunity to grow on you!
Tell us about the elements of the mission statement.
When I arrived at Trinity in the fall of 2009 we very soon introduced the understanding that Jesus lived out His life in three key relationships: Up (with His Father), In (with His chosen followers), and Out (to a hurting world). We can see these three dimensions in Jesus’ lifestyle and teaching.
Jesus’ ministry and life were sustained and led by His relationship with His Father. Jesus introduced His disciples to the same kind of intimacy with the Father that He had always known. Jesus also brought community around Him. He spent time with the 12 disciples building strong relationship with them. Thirdly, we see from the Gospels how Jesus reached out to a hurting world around Him. In Luke chapter 6 we see Jesus pray with His Father before calling a group of twelve around Him. But we also see Him walk amongst the crowds — teaching, healing, feeding, and comforting. He went out to them and ministered to them at their point of need. “And He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of His disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch Him, for power came out from him and healed them all.” (Luke 6: 17-19).
In 2014 we attempted to bring a little more simplicity to this Up, In, and Out concept with the phrase Connect | Grow | Serve. As followers of Christ, we are called to connect with one another, grow in our love for God, and serve locally and globally. In a deliberately Jesus-centric fashion, the renewed mission statement retains these three essential dimensions of our life together in God.
Operating in all three dimensions is how God made us to function and to bear fruit. Our “center” relationship with Jesus is how we abide in Him. We (the branches) must abide in Him (the vine) if we are to produce fruit [John 15]. It is also expressed in our love for God, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22: 37-38). The “heart” relationship — how we love others, through the love of Jesus within us—is the only identifying mark Jesus said that Christians were to have. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) God made us to live out our faith in close relationship with others. He has also called us into a living, active partnership with Him whereby we get to see Heaven breaking in upon the earth.
Can you explain the choice of the word “source”?
Gladly. We were searching for a way of describing that the essential part of our relationship in Jesus that reaches out and serves others must be resourced and flow out of His love. This is about recognizing our powerlessness to change ourselves or this world in our own strength. And from that place, this is about coming back to the Cross of Jesus Christ. We willingly submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit to be transformed into the image of Jesus. The word “source” is a helpful way to remember that Jesus, our fount of “living water” [John 7:38], is the unending and gracious source that we all come from, must return to, and are continually replenished by.
Are you personally excited about the new mission statement?
Yes, I am. The process, all by itself, has been beautifully orchestrated by the Holy Spirit — building unity, trust, and understanding. On a personal note, the love of the Father found me in the goodness of a community of His people. Through their patient love, I discovered that Jesus knew my name, loved me, and had a plan for my life. Very simply, as far as it is possible for me, I would like to replicate this experience and this revelation of mercy, hope, love, and purpose in Jesus for every man, woman, and child. The new mission statement captures this passion perfectly and I believe it captures the heart of Trinity. One member of the Council looked at the finished wording and commented, “This really is who we are and why we exist!” I could not agree more.