“The Conejo Valley Church of Christ seeks to be a thick intergenerational community of reciprocal love and grace, embodying the Christ-centered, Spirit-led character, and durable unity of the church in times of harmony (Acts 2) and of discord (Acts 15). When we genuinely belong to each other and are actively equipped for service, we can be God’s ongoing blessing (Genesis 12) in the Conejo Valley and beyond.”
Earlier this year, our elders announced a visioning process for the Conejo Church involving a team of church members representing various age and life stages. That team worked with church consultant Jon Mullican to draft a vision description for the next twenty years at the Conejo Church (see above). In this series of articles, we’re reflecting on the various phrases in the vision description. This week, I’ll be reflecting on “… we can be God’s ongoing blessing (Genesis 12) in the Conejo Valley and beyond.”
The idea that “we can be God’s ongoing blessing” is not a new one at Conejo. Even before our 2017 Be the Blessing campaign and congregational emphasis, we regularly used “Be the blessing” language as we described various ministry opportunities we take part in. This language, of course, is rooted in the story of Abraham and Sarah and God’s call in Genesis 12:1-3. There, God called Abraham to “Go from your country and your kindred… to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing… and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Abraham and his household embraced God’s calling, leaving home, kin, and security to participate in God’s plan to bless all nations.
I imagine all of us want to enjoy God’s blessing, which is part of God’s promise in Genesis 12. However, the full calling of Abraham involved more than just receiving. It also involved being a blessing, conveying through a variety of faithful practices God’s care, goodness, and healing for a broken world. As followers of Jesus, the son of Abraham, we Christians also understand that we have been cared for by God in order that we may care for our neighbors; we have received divine grace that we may reflect grace and mercy to others; we have freely received from God that we may freely give to others. As 1 John 4:11 succinctly puts it, “Since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.”
Our vision, then, is that we as a community of faith will reflect God’s blessing “in the Conejo valley and beyond.” We live in a big world, with many hurts and needs, far beyond our ability to fix and heal. But in seeking to be the blessing, we go to spaces and places where we can bring “cups of cold water” to the “thirsty” as well as the good news of Jesus’ healing and transforming grace, both locally and in various mission points around the world. Our faith was never intended to simply benefit “us and ours”; it is intended to spill out from our church family to those within our various spheres of influence. May God bless each of us as we seek to bless our neighbors and our neighborhoods.