What are we doing? (The Four Questions Series)



In our last blog post we visited four questions that we wanted to spend some time unpacking.  We asked,

1) What are we doing? (The Mission)
2) Why are we doing it? (The Values)
3) How are we going to get it done? (The Strategies)
4) When do we have a win? (The Measure)

We set out to answer these questions in a manner that would clearly communicate who we are as a church.  Understanding the answer to the first question is essential if we are going to have a means of evaluating whether or not we are honoring God’s calling and sticking to our unique mission.  What are we doing?  Simply stated, we are making God famous throughout the world.

In 2007 I sat down with my friend Derrick Kelsey and I presented him with a list of eight core values that I believe a church should affirm and celebrate.  He promptly pointed out that many of them overlap and over the course of three years we managed to get the list down to five.  The first value on the list affirmed that God is Supreme in all things and we derived this value from passages such as Romans 11:36, “For from him and through him and to him are all things.  To him be glory forever.”  This value received most of our attention and I still recall the conversation in which Kelsey and I demoted the other four values as we realized that God’s supremacy was a thread that held all of our hopes together.  We did not have five core values; we only had one.  God is supreme in all things.  And our goal is to publish his supremacy.

We use the word “supreme” in reference to his throne and status.  He is King and, therefore, always in the role of preeminence; he is never subordinate.  We carefully included the phrase “all things” to emphasize the fact that there are no exceptions.  Paul’s language in Romans 11:36 presents God as the source (“from him”), means (“through him”), and end (“to him”) of all things.  Everything exists for his name’s sake.[1]  For the sake of contextualizing Paul’s language we landed on a summarizing phrase, “We exist for the sake of making God famous!”   Paul’s use of the word “glory” (dóxa) in Romans 11:36 is actually an act of emphasizing the words of the previous sentence.  Dóxa presumes the ideas of weight and radiance (2nd Cor. 4:17).  God’s presence in the world should be delightfully heavy and brilliant to behold.  He cannot be invisible.  His existence is both undeniable and cause for rejoicing.  Dóxa is also used in reference to one’s reputation (2nd Cor. 4:17).  God created the world as a means of bringing grand repute to himself!  These ideas give us our mission.  We strive to promote God’s glorious reputation.  We desire to make his name heavy and radiant.  We exist to make him famous![2]

You may be asking, “But isn’t God already famous?”  We believe this is a reasonable question.  And we concede the fact that many people are aware of God’s existence.[3]  But Dóxa fame does not simply make the world aware of his existence.  It reorients the world.  All of creation finds meaning in the fact that God exist!  His fame does not merely reference how many people know of him.  It also speaks to how they respond once they know him.  When they see him in all his glory, do they orient their lives to him?  Do they surrender to him as Lord?  Do they live the life of the disciple and see him as supreme in all things?  Our goal, by God’s grace, it to nurture this kind of fame on God’s behalf.  We do not desire that people would merely know of him.  Our passion is that people would know him intimately and that this intimacy would permeate the culture, reorient lives toward God, and cause the world to joyfully surrendering to him.  We desire that the world would celebrate him over all things.  David expressed a passion for what we are doing when he said,

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.  Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.  Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.  (Psalm 145:1-7 ESV)

Brandon Washington
The Embassy Church
…making God famous throughout the world.


[1] Paul made this point again in Colossians 1:15, “…all things were created through him and for him.”

[2] I am fully aware of the fact that I am being repetitious.  It is intentional.

[3] In fact, we would assert that EVERYONE is aware of God’s existence (Romans 1:18-32).   Anyone that denies his existence is trying to convince the heart of that which it cannot sincerely believe (Psalm 14:1).

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