Stewardship Resource

Living on Purpose at St. Philip the Deacon

Happening  Happening
  • Author: Cheryl Mathison is the Teaching Pastor at St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church.
  • Updated: 05/24/2006
  • Copyright: St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church, 17205 County Road 6, Plymouth, MN  55447 - 763-475-7128

In the fall of 2005, the staff at St. Philip the Deacon chose the book LIVING ON PURPOSE to focus its conversation, shape its life and privode an environment where faith grows.

Living on Purpose at St. Philip the Deacon

This is a story about how a congregation chose a book to help focus its conversation, shape its life and provide an environment where faith grows.  

If you talk to Pastor Cheryl Mathison, who serves as the Teaching Pastor you will learn stories about transformed lives.  If you ask Pastor David Hoffman, the congregation's senior pastor, he will note that there is a significant growth in participation and giving last year occurred among those who became engaged in consideration of life's purpose.

In the Spring of 2005, after consideration of a number of options, the pastors at St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church, in Plymouth, MN chose a book written by Tom and Christine Sine, Living On Purpose to serve as a focus for a congregation wide engagement in faith formation.  

To them it seem to be the right book at the right time for their congregation.  Before it was introduced to the congregation, the staff took a chapter a week and then discussed it.  

Pastor Mathison reports that, "Some loved it.  Some hated it.  Some found it offensive and invasive while others found it just the ticket." Personally, she admits she found parts of the book difficult to swallow.  "After the first three chapters, I wasn't engaged.  The 'Boom City language didn't resonate with me. But then chapters 4 -- 7 captivated my interest."    

What captivated Cheryl the most was that "at the heart of Living on Purpose is an invitation to prepare a personal faith mission statement.  Lots of people have mission statements, but the idea of creating and living by one that is uniquely faithful was intriguing."

The desired outcome became to encourage and support individuals and families to prepare and write "Whole Life Mission Statements."

Copies of the book were made available for purchase. A sermon series was preached.  Existing small groups were invited to use this book.  New ones were created.  Articles were written in the congregations newsletter.  A "Faith Mission Statement Writing Workshop" was held.  A workbook was developed for participants in the workshop.  Individual members of the congregation reflected on their mission statements during the Mid-Week Lent services.  

She claims that what occurred in the congregation continues to be amazing.  The preparation for and encouragement for people to write their personal mission statements has been a transforming experience for a number of people.  

Cheryl wrote in an email posted early in 2006, "While the sermon series and the congregation's reading of the book took place in September, and the workshops in late fall and early winter, people continue to report on their progress in living out their faith mission statements.  Usually it is a simple remark like:  'I am so glad I wrote my faith mission statement,' but occasionally it reflects a deep and profound life transformation. Either way, it is evident the faith mission statements have impacted lives here in significant and meaningful ways."

To obtain more information and resources go to Living On Purpose - Index

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